Suspects in May theft and assault at Ashaway business return to Rhode Island, plead not guilty

Suspects in May theft and assault at Ashaway business return to Rhode Island, plead not guilty



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HOPKINTON — The suspects in a Memorial Day weekend theft and assault at the Rhode Island Harvesting Co. store in Ashaway have returned to Rhode Island and will contest felony charges filed in that case, according to court records. 

The pair, Jonathan Ilarraza, 26, of North Kingstown, and Jan Poirier, 25, of Pawtucket, were arraigned separately in late August on charges of larceny over $1,500 and conspiracy to commit felony larceny. Ilarraza was also charged with felony assault or battery. They entered not guilty pleas to all counts in Washington County Superior Court and will undergo felony screenings.

The theft at the store on Extension Road occurred May 26. According to Hopkinton police reports, the two entered the store and were seen on a surveillance camera leaving after Ilarraza took a chain saw valued at $1,889.

The police said Ilarraza got into a silver 2018 Nissan Murano that had been reported stolen on May 20 from North Kingstown. He has been charged in North Kingstown in connection with that theft.

Hopkinton Police Chief David Palmer said previously that a worker left the store and tried to stop the suspects from fleeing. The worker opened the driver’s side door, Palmer said, but Ilarraza “quickly backed up the vehicle, which resulted in the employee falling to the ground and causing injuries to his hand, wrist, leg and knee.”

Ilarraza and Poirier are facing additional charges in connection with other thefts across Rhode Island in May. Those included a misdemeanor shoplifting charge from Westerly on May 26.

The two were taken into custody in Pawcatuck on Memorial Day along with another accomplice, Robert Abercrombie, 48, of Providence. In that incident, the Stonington police said the three tried to flee from an off-duty Westerly police officer, Lt. Steven Johnson, as he was waiting for backup. Johnson fired one shot, police said, and Ilarraza crashed moments later.  

Ilarazza and Abercrombie fled on foot and were captured after a police K-9 search. The charges initially filed against Ilarraza were transferred on Aug. 23 to Washington County Superior Court. Court records show he was also charged in connection with the Hopkinton case at that time, court records show. He has since entered a not guilty plea to charges of vehicle theft and driving with a suspended license.

The police said that Poirier, who had remained with the car, made aggressive comments to officers at the scene and was charged and convicted in Connecticut on one count of threatening. She was sentenced Aug. 29 to one year in prison, execution suspended pending probation, and returned to Rhode Island on Aug. 31, records show.

Poirier has since been released on bond. Ilarazza, who has an extensive criminal history, was ordered held without bond pending the outcome of a hearing in October.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com


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