15 Sep 2014
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Is There A Crime Problem In Downtown Pawcatuck?

A break-in at McGill Chevrolet over the weekend and a subsequent petty crime spree underscores a larger question — what's going on in Pawcatuck?

Is There A Crime Problem In Downtown Pawcatuck?

A blood-spattered petty crime spree in downtown Pawcatuck early Saturday morning began at Mcgill Chevrolet on West Broad Street and wound its way from Chase Street to Moss to Stanton to Morgan before ending in an arrest. At Mcgill, it is the second time in six months a crime has been committed there, and the owner says he has had enough.

In addition to the weekend excitement, in January there was a rash of home break-ins in the same area that had residents on edge. Arrests were made in those cases. In the residential burglaries, no one was home but forced entry was used.

In the most recent case, police arrested Dwayne Eugene Hazard, 26, of 52 Franklin St., Westerly, RI after he allegedly broke into McGill Chevrolet, and then broke into at least seven cars between the dealership and Liberty Street, where he was arrested at his girlfriend's apartment.

Hazard broke a rear window to get into the dealership building at around 12:30 a.m., Saturday, and then broke another to get out, leaving a bloody trail for investigators to follow, Officer Ed Cullen said.

He was charged with one count of third-degree burglary, four counts of sixth-degree larceny from a motor vehicle, nine counts of third-degree criminal mischief, one count of criminal attempt to commit sixth-degree larceny and six counts of simple trespass. He was also charged with failure to appear in court from a separate warrant.

Cullen said all the cars that were broken into were not locked, and he urged residents to lock their vehicles. Some of the cars that were broken into Saturday morning were parked in driveways, and some were on the street.

At the car dealership, the two windows were fixed on Saturday, said Mcgill president Sean C. Mcgill.

Mcgill said that once inside the building, the suspect went into a customer's car that was there for service, leaving blood all over the inside.

"My alarm is on a 30-second delay, and so when it went off, it must've scared him," Mcgill said Monday. "Thankfully, the alarm system did its job. The alarm saved us, with the exception of the two windows.”

Mcgill said this is the second break-in at the dealership in six months, after 20 years of no issues whatsoever. The first time, a car was stolen off the lot, he said. In addition, he said, cars that are parked in the front and back lots are damaged on a regular basis.

Mcgill said conditions in the neighborhood have deteriorated.

“We have had a lot of issues lately. Just last weekend, a car was hit in the front (lot). There is trash, and beer bottles, and vomit, and even feces all around when I come in Monday morning. It’s nasty. The police are great, especially around closing time at the bar next door, but the last few months have been bad.”

Mcgill said he has had enough, and he plans to seek a meeting this week with First Selectman Ed Haberek Jr., Police Chief Darren Stewart and Fire Marshal George Brennan to talk about what can be done.

He is also installing motion sensor lights around the building, and taking other precautions that he did not want to make public. It is all costing him money, however, both the security improvements and every time something is damaged.

“It’s too bad,” Mcgill said. “I have been here for years and years and I never had a problem. Now, every weekend night, I wonder am I going to get a phone call from the police. It shouldn’t be like that. I am at my wit’s end.”

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