|Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today that Gabriel Estuardo Rojas, 28 of Methuen, and Manuel Jose Lopez, 24 of Lawrence, have been arrested and charged in connection with seven burglaries and break-ins since November 22, 2019, as well as dealing in property stolen from several other burglaries and break-ins.
Today’s arrests come as a result of a 15-month investigation conducted in partnership with multiple law enforcement agencies including Pelham, NH police and local departments in both Middlesex and Essex Counties.
Both defendants are being charged with five counts of unarmed burglary, breaking and entering a dwelling house in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, breaking and entering a vehicle at night, three counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of possession of burglarious tools and conspiracy to commit unarmed burglary in connection with burglaries and break-ins that occurred between November 22, 2019 and January 27, 2020, in the communities of Natick, Waltham, Wilmington, Westford, Methuen, Tewksbury, and Andover, as well as dealing in property stolen during burglaries and break-ins in Concord, Dracut, and Pelham, MA. The defendants are also being charged with one count of burglary in New Hampshire.
On December 12th, 2019, Pelham, New Hampshire Police Detectives and Patrol Units responded to a daytime burglary in progress at a home on Longpond Drive in Pelham, NH. The suspects allegedly fled into a wooded area close to the Massachusetts border before Officers arrived. As a result of the subsequent investigation, detectives were able to share information on the case with multiple agencies that were experiencing similar burglaries in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives were able to identify surveillance videos and records allegedly linking the defendants to several burglaries. Police searched the defendants’ residences pursuant to search warrants, recovering clothing, tools and a rented SUV believed to be used in the incidents, as well as numerous articles of stolen property from Rojas’s apartment and the defendants’ cell phones. A search of their cellphones pursuant to a search warrant allowed the detectives to identify messages between the defendants and others allegedly related to a wide-ranging burglary conspiracy. Investigators obtained search warrants issued by the Superior Court to analyze the location data for the defendants’ cell phones. This established that one or both of the defendants’ cell phones communicated with cell towers close to the breaks at the time they are believed to have occurred, often traveling from the areas where the defendants lived to the sites of the breaks, and elsewhere from there.
As the investigation progressed, Gabriel Estuardo Rojas was arrested in possession of a stolen motorcycle on May 21, 2020, by Nashua Police. Following that arrest, investigators identified a self-storage unit he rented in Tyngsborough. On July 16, 2020, investigators executed a search warrant at that storage unit and located property in the defendants’ names. They also recovered three motorcycles that had been stolen in May and June of 2020 and approximately $5,000 of stolen Snap-On tools, among other suspected stolen property.
The two defendants were directly indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Gabriel Estuardo Rojas and Manuel Jose Lopez were apprehended today by the Middlesex State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, with the collaboration of the police departments from Methuen, Lawrence, Tewksbury, Pelham, NH; and Salem, NH. The defendants were placed under arrest and taken into custody without incident. Subsequently, Mr. Rojas and Lopez were arraigned in Woburn District Court. Judge Shannon Frison ordered the defendants to be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on April 12.
This is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the District Attorney’s Office and the Pelham NH Police Department, with assistance from the Salem NH Police Department, Nashua NH Police Department, Windham NH Police Department, Londonderry NH Police Department, Tewksbury Police Department, Chelmsford Police Department, Natick Police Department, Tyngsborough Police Department, Methuen Police Department, Haverhill Police Department, Andover Police Department, Dracut Police Department, Lawrence Police Department, Westford Police Department, Waltham Police Department, Wilmington Police Department, Concord Police Department, Needham Police Department, Dedham Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police Special Investigation Division, the US Secret Service and US Department of Homeland Security.
These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutors assigned to this case is Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Graham Van Epps and Doug Cannon.
This is an open and ongoing investigation.