WESTERLY — A Providence man who had entered parked cars, intending to steal, was talked into returning money to one of the victims after he was seen about two blocks away entering another vehicle, a pickup truck, the police said.
The man, Dante D. Durrell, 21, was arrested Friday night on two counts of tampering with a motor vehicle. He was released on bond and is expected to appear in Fourth Division District Court for arraignment later this month.
"He later admitted to police that he had been entering cars in the area and was doing so because he was homeless and needed the money to get something to eat," Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said.
According to the police, Durrell was charged around 9:45 p.m. Friday after a series of events that began when a resident of Jay Street called to report that a man had just entered her car and taken about $50. The woman said she was at her home with friends when they saw a man inside her car and called out to him. Several witnesses said that Durrell appeared startled and ran away, dropping some of the money.
Lacey said the police set up a perimeter and began to search the area. Then the department received a second call from the woman, who said that a friend had found the man and that he had willingly returned.
"A witness told officers that he found Durrell entering a pickup truck along Haswell Street and questioned what he was doing," Lacey said. "The witness told (Durrell) his behavior was not acceptable and demanded that he return to pick up his mess. He agreed to do so."
Lacey said officers searched Durrell and found costume jewelry and two folding knives that were suspected to have been taken from cars. But Durrell is not facing larceny charges because the money was returned and there was no evidence that anything was taken from the pickup truck, Lacey said. If other victims come forward, he said, additional charges could be filed.