Prosecutors have declined to move forward with charges filed against an elderly Wakefield man who caused a disturbance last week when he blocked the entrance to the Home Depot in Westerly with his truck in a dispute with management regarding a generator.
During a court hearing Monday at the McGrath Judicial Complex in Wakefield, 91-year-old Edward A. Hayden told a judge that he'd learned a lot about "what he can and can't do," and apologized for his role in the disturbance. Hayden had been charged with breach of peace and resisting arrest.
Court officials indicated that Hayden had no prior record and was upset by the circumstances regarding the generator, but intended no harm toward store employees or patrons.
"A lot of it appeared to be a misunderstanding regarding that generator," Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said Tuesday. "He felt he had bought one that wasn't working and did not believe the store was doing enough to make it right."
According to police reports, Hayden went to the Home Depot at 120 Franklin St.around 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 27 to discuss his Ryobi generator. Dissatisfied that the conversations did not result in the store replacing his generator, the police said, he parked his pickup truck in front of the sliding door entrance in a manner that prevented people from entering or leaving.
The police said Hayden was angry and not responsive with officers when they asked him to move the truck. Officers eventually opened the door when he refused to respond. The police said he struggled momentarily, but was taken into custody.
The truck was removed from the entrance and towed from the scene, according to a police report.
Lacey said an investigation found that Hayden bought the generator in May and had returned to the store with it in late October, telling the staff that the product didn't work and that he would like to have it repaired or replaced. The generator was no longer covered under warranty, according to the police, and a manager told Hayden they would need to send it to Ryobi to be repaired, which would take several weeks.
The generator was sent to Ryobi for repairs, a manager told police. It was unclear in police reports when the generator was shipped out.
The police said Hayden, frustrated that the issue had not been resolved and worried about the weather, went to the store on Nov. 27 and told the manager he would not leave without a generator. When the store did not comply with his request, employees said he blocked the entrance.