*Joint Release* Whitman Police and Fire Departments Investigating Acts of Vandalism, Burned Vehicles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 4, 2018
Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Whitman Police and Fire Departments Investigating Acts of Vandalism, Burned Vehicles
Two Men Arrested As Investigation Continues
Note: Fire begins at 4:50 mark
WHITMAN — Police Chief Scott D. Benton and Fire Chief Timothy J. Grenno report that multiple acts of vandalism, including vehicles that were set ablaze, in Whitman Tuesday are being investigated and two arrests have been made.
SHAUN MINNOCK, AGE 23, and ZACHARY RALPH, AGE 22, BOTH OF WHITMAN were charged with:
- Burning a Motor Vehicle (Three Counts)
- Wanton Destruction of Property Over $1,200
Ralph was arraigned Friday in Brockton District Court and posted $200 bail to be released.
Minnock was arraigned Wednesday in Brockton District Court and was released without bail.
At approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1, the Whitman Police and Fire Departments received a report that multiple vehicles were on fire in a parking lot on Day Street.
Upon arrival, three vehicles parked in a fenced-in lot at 10 Day St. were located with heavy flames showing.
Firefighters worked to quickly put out the flames, while police officers secured the scene and began to investigate.
The vehicles are owned by Boston GPS and were parked in a private storage lot.
Three vehicles sustained heavy damage, while two others had minor damage from the fire.
While the fire was being extinguished, both MINNOCK and RALPH approached Whitman Fire Lt. Al Cunningham and spoke to him. Lt. Cunningham knows RALPH and reported that he spoke to both men to police investigators.
Through the subsequent joint investigation, it was determined that the fire was intentionally set.
Video surveillance footage from the parking lot showed two men gaining access to the lot. A short time later the dark parking lot was illuminated by the flames and the same two individuals were seen walking out of the lot.
“This fire could have been a lot worse given the amount of vehicles in the lot and the nearby homes,” Chief Grenno said. “Excellent work knocking down the fire quickly and a special credit to Lt. Cunningham who help to identify the two suspects.”
Officers went to a nearby 7-Eleven and spoke to a clerk who told them that two men fitting the description of the suspects in the video had come into the store shortly after the fire. Surveillance footage from the store showed the same two men that had been in the lot.
It was determined through the investigation that MINNOCK and RALPH had set the fire in the lot. MINNOCK was arrested at the police station after agreeing to be interviewed by officers Tuesday afternoon.
An arrest warrant was subsequently filed against RALPH and he was arrested in Whitman on Thursday night, May 3.
“This was great detective work by our guys. Through the surveillance video they were able to identify Minnock by the wording on the back of the sweatshirt he was wearing both at the fire and inside the 7-Eleven,” Chief Benton said.
Later Tuesday morning, police received multiple calls from businesses reporting acts of vandalism.
- At approximately 6:25 a.m., police responded to Diamond Fuel, 311 South Ave., for a report that two vehicles had the back windows smashed.
- At approximately 7:10 a.m., Whitman Police received a call reporting that two windows had been broken at furniture store located at 365 South Avenue.
- While searching the area for further damage officers located a broken window at the Whitman Cable Access building, 115 South Ave.
- Another window was found broken at the Venus Cafe, 47 South Ave.
All of the damaged properties were photographed as evidence.
No arrests have been made in the vandalism cases as of Friday afternoon and the investigation is ongoing.
Any residents or business owners who believe they may be the victim of similar acts of vandalism should report it to the Whitman Police. Anyone who may have information about the incidents or witnessed any suspicious activity in the area is asked to call the Whitman Police Department at 781-447-1212.
Chief Benton and Chief Grenno would like to thank the Plymouth County Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the State Fire Marshal’s office for their assistance in the investigation.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.