Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

One-Man Crime Spree in Mansfield

According to The Sun Chronicle, a 27 year old man is set to be arriagned today in the Attleboro District Court on charges of armed robbery while masked, unlawful possession of a firearm, failure to stop for police, and attaching motor vehicle plates.

The report describes a series of offenses beginning with a 2:00 A.M. robbery in Stoughton, which preceded the incidents in Mansfield where the man is alleged to have robbed a convenience store, and tried to carjack a local resident during his attempt to escape.

While searching for the suspect, who was identified as Rosa, Foxboro Police received a telephone call about an attempted carjacking.

Rosa attempted to carjack the Foxboro resident’s vehicle at knife point, police allege, but then fled into nearby woods without taking the vehicle.

Rosa was taken into custody at gunpoint by troopers and Foxboro officers a short time later.

From the description, it would appear that the man will be charged with two counts of armed robbery, at least one of which occurred while maksed, which increases his mandatory minimum to 5 years for the gas station offense.  There is no maximum punishment for robbery, so the maximum sentence for that charge is, at least theoretically, life in prison.  It is almost unheard of for someone to get life in prison for robbery

An important fight in this case will come down to whether the state can make its case on carjacking. First, the fact that he did not succeed in obtaining control of the car is no defense for him, because the carjacking statute (G.L. c. 265, s. 21A) reads as follows:

Whoever, with intent to steal a motor vehicle, assaults, confines, maims or puts any person in fear for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle shall, whether he succeeds or fails in the perpetration of stealing the motor vehicle be punished . . .

Second, if he was armed at the time, his mandatory minimum goes up to seven years.  Police say they found a gun in the vicinity where he was arrested; and they say he used the gun in the convenience store robbery.  If the carjacking victim cannot say they saw a gun, this may turn into a circumstantial case on the question of whether this man's carjacking charges will carry the 7 year minimum for armed carjacking, or whether he can only be charged with the lesser unarmed carjacking offense that has no mandatory minimum.