NEWBURYPORT, Mass. — A Walpole man is free on $5,000 cash bail after police allege he engaged in a bizarre craigslist-related theft of a diamond engagement ring valued at $18,500.
Jeffrey L. Rosenspan, 30, was arrested after police say he tried to pawn a Maine woman’s stolen 1.55-carat platinum ring at two local jewelry stores while wearing a surgical mask and carrying a cane.
The ring was allegedly stolen after a craigslist deal went sour in Portsmouth, N.H. Police there say they tracked Rosenspan to Newburyport by pinging his cellphone, which allowed them to identify his location.
In addition to the mask and cane, police say a search of Rosenspan’s car found 10 diamond rings in a bag in the driver’s side front-door pocket as well as a stun gun, pepper spray, fake mustaches, additional masks and two passports/visas belonging to Indian men, according to documents filed at Newburyport District Court.
Rosenspan, of Walpole, was arraigned Thursday before Judge James LaMothe in Newburyport District Court on five charges: receiving stolen property worth more than $250, possession of an electronic stun gun, possession of unlawful caliber ammunition (pepper spray), vehicle license plate violation and being a fugitive from justice on a New Hampshire warrant.
Rosenspan posted $5,000 cash bail after his arraignment, according to court documents, and was expected to turn himself into Portsmouth authorities soon after leaving Newburyport District Court.
According to the New Hampshire warrant affidavit of Portsmouth police officer Andre Wassouf, the suspect met with Bryan Cormier of Kittery, Maine, in the parking lot of the Citizens Bank on Pleasant Street in Portsmouth at about 1:10 p.m Thursday.
Cormier told police he had met the suspect, who identified himself as Ed Stanson, to sell him an $18,500 diamond ring that belonged to his girlfriend, Tammiann Searle. Cormier told Wassouf his girlfriend had authorized him to sell the ring on her behalf and he had listed it for sale on the online site craigslist.
Cormier told police that upon arrival, he walked up to the suspect’s car, which was parked facing outward with the engine running, and handed him the ring to inspect. According to the affidavit, Cormier said the suspect took off with the ring and Cormier’s driver’s license.
Cormier described the suspect as in his late 20s, with thin hair and wearing a white shirt and tie, as well as a white mask covering his mouth and nose. Cormier told police the suspect told him he had cancer. He said the suspect was driving a white Nissan Altima, with New Hampshire plates.
According to the affidavit, Cormier showed Wassouf text messages on his phone sent by the suspect after he fled that said he was sorry, that he had cancer and that “this will help.” He asked Cormier not to tell his fiance about what he did. He also advised Cormier to be more careful in the future for he had “brought a gun” to the meeting. The suspect then texted Cormier again saying he was having a panic attack and asked Cormier to “please come get me,” but did not indicate where he was.
Wassouf, however, was able to determine almost the precise location of the suspect by researching his cellphone number and requesting that his mobile carrier, Cingular Wireless, do a precision location ping on his telephone.
“The suspect’s cellphone was pinged in Newburyport, Mass., on State Street corner to Middle Street,” Wassouf wrote in the affidavit. “I called Newburyport Police Department, who responded to the area and found ‘Ed’ walking down the street wearing the white face mask.”
Newburyport police recovered the ring as well as Cormier’s driver’s license and determined the suspect’s real identity.
According to the report of Newburyport detective Michael Sugrue, Rosenspan admitted during an interview that he had met with Cormier, had stolen the ring from him and had switched license plates on his car after he left the scene. Maine plates were found on the Altima when Rosenspan was stopped by Newburyport police.
In the back seat of the car, police discovered a bag containing fake mustaches, rubber gloves and surgical masks, two passports/ Visa cards belonging to Indian men and a stun gun. Other items were found in the trunk, including three bags of items belonging to unknown people, two digital cameras and an iPhone. Pepper spray was in the center console.
When asked why he had the pepper spray and stun gun, Rosenspan told Sugrue, “he wanted to be a spy and it seemed like things that spies used,” Sugrue said in his report.
According to Sugrue’s report, the defendant, after eventually waiving his rights to an attorney and responding to police questions, changed his story numerous times during the investigation.
Rosenspan first said he had met a man in Portsmouth to buy the ring, but had intended to “talk him down” on the price, because it was too high. He also initially claimed his meeting with Cormier to buy the ring was legitimate, adding he had $30,000 in the bank because he and his wife were buying a house, according to the reports. However, he later told Sugrue that he didn’t have any money and that he was in credit card debit.
Rosenspan said he took off with the ring because he panicked and added that Cormier was not pressing charges as long as he brought the ring back.
Shown a surveillance photo of an incident at a pawn shop in Hudson, N.H., where someone wearing a mask and fitting his description was attempting to pawn jewelry, Rosenspan acknowledged it was him, Sugrue wrote. He said he was attempting to sell a necklace that came from another pawn shop. He said his actions were “a mark of a desperate person.”
Rosenspan denied he was stealing to support a drug habit, saying it was because he was in credit card debit and his job didn’t pay well, the report said.
(c)2012 The Daily News of Newburyport (Newburyport, Mass.)
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