BOSTON, Nov. 29, 2012—A Hyde Park man was sentenced to jail time this week after Suffolk prosecutors proved he possessed a stolen box of toys intended as Christmas gifts for a young boy, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced.
A West Roxbury District Court jury on Tuesday convicted ERNEST POLITE (D.O.B. 10/4/72) of receiving stolen property for the Dec. 24, 2011, theft of a parcel from in front of a Jamaica Plain home. A judge ruled that the evidence was not sufficient to support an additional charge of trespassing.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Kristina Kerwin recommended that he serve two years in a house of correction. Judge Mary Ann Driscoll sentenced him to 18 months behind bars. Polite is currently on probation for a drug trafficking case out of Maine and was convicted in 2006 of drug distribution offenses in Dorchester. He has also served time for carjacking, assault and battery, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
During the one-day trial, Kerwin proved that a tipster notified Boston Police that a man operating a brown Ford Explorer had taken a package from the front porch of a Bourne Street residence at about 8:00 a.m. The ensuing investigation revealed that the package contained $50 worth of toy Transformers meant to brighten the Christmas of a 4-year-old boy. Though a search of the area did not turn up the suspect, Boston Police were able to recover the package from behind some nearby shrubs and returned it to the boy’s grateful father.
“Every parent knows that a box of toys is worth much more to a child than the dollar amount on the price tag,” Conley said. “The plan to steal them on Christmas Eve was just heartless. Fortunately, we’ve got a city full of elves and others who wouldn’t stand for it.”
Officers spotted the suspect vehicle near the intersection of Eldridge and Patten streets and set up surveillance on it, hoping to spot the suspect, described as a tall, heavyset man wearing a black hat, green jacket, and dark jeans. About half an hour later, they spotted Polite – who stood about 5’10” tall and weighed about 250 lbs – wearing similar clothing.
Polite entered a car that had been parked directly behind the suspect vehicle, joining a younger woman wearing a red Santa-style hat. Believing he might be the man involved in the package’s theft, Boston Police stopped the car a short time later and called the original tipster to the scene to identify him.
While waiting, Polite made statements that another person had taken the package from the porch, and that he’d taken it from that person and put it in the yard where it was recovered. The tipster identified him with 85% certainty out of a lineup of plainclothes officers with similar appearances.
Polite was represented by attorney Kenneth Resnik.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.