Man charged with B&E was found in basement of friend he hadn’t seen in 20 years

Man charged with B&E was found in basement of friend he hadn’t seen in 20 years

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WESTERLY — A local man is facing charges of breaking and entering after police said he was found in the basement of a home belonging to a former friend he had not seen in nearly 20 years. The police said they had briefly reconnected on Facebook.

The man, Robert Dellabella, 40, was charged last week with breaking and entering a home without the owner’s consent and obstructing an officer. He was unable to post a $10,000 bond and is being held at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

Dellabella, who also uses the alias Robert Ortiz, entered a not guilty plea and has since filed a motion for reduction of bail, court records showed Wednesday.

According to a police report, officers were called to a home in the downtown area around noon on July 1 after the homeowner and a neighbor reported that an unknown man was found in the basement. Officers arrived to find the homeowner and Dellabella arguing. The police were told that Dellabella had just broken into the basement.

The homeowner, who was not identified, told officers he attacked Dellabella, striking him several times in an effort to get him out of the house. Police said that at the time, the homeowner seemed generally unaware of who Dellabella was. No items were reported stolen from the home, police said, although a large duffle bag and a bicycle left by Dellabella outside the house were seized as evidence.

Dellabella was eventually taken to the hospital emergency room after he was found in possession of drug paraphernalia and admitted using heroin, police said.

According to the police, an investigation determined that in the first few months of 2018, Dellbella had contacted the other man through Facebook, even though the two had not had any contact in nearly 20 years. Police said the homeowner informed them of this interaction once he realized the connection.

In messages provided by the homeowner to police, Dellabella had asked him to supply him with heroin. The man declined and told Dellabella that he had not been involved in or around such activity in many years. The two never met up, police said, and the communication ceased after a couple weeks.

While at the hospital, police said Dellabella repeatedly used the last name Ortiz, which police said he later admitted to using because he knew he was going to be in trouble. Police stayed with Dellabella and he was taken into custody following treatment.

He is due back in court for a bail hearing on July 18, and for a felony screening in Washington Superior Court on Oct. 5.


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