After a four-month investigation, the Rhode Island State Police arrested a known West Warwick felon today in connection with multiple burglaries around the state, including an attempted break-in at a Tiverton business.
David R. Degrasse, 46, of 38 East Street Apt. 2, West Warwick, was arrested during the early morning hours of Thursday, July 26 and charged with three counts of breaking and entering into a building at night with intent to commit a felony, attempted breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools.
According to State Police Capt. Michael J. Winquist, detective commander, Degrasse allegedly attempted to break into a Tiverton ast week. Degrasse, who was described by police to be a professional theif with an extensive criminal histroy dating back to 1984, was foiled when he failed to properly disconnect the store's alarm system.
"We found out from Tiverton Police that the alarm had been activated at 1:05 a.m. that night and he was basically, we believe, spooked off and left the area," said Winquist.
Thanks to surveillance tactics, Winquist said State Police were already aware that Degrasse was in the area, but narrowly missed him at the Dunkin Donuts because he left in a hurry.
"We were able catch up with him and we found him on Rt. 95, but he had no items on him that indicated he had committed a break-in," said Winquist. According to Winquist, Degrasse allegedly entered numerous business across the state over the last four months using a signature method to bypass alarms.
The Tiverton Dunkin Donuts, however, used a more sophisticated type of alarm system so when Degrasse tried to cut the power source, the alarm sounded and the company was notified.
"I believe if it wasn't for that alarm going off, we probably would have caught him inside the business," said Winquist in an interview on Thursday.
Police estimate that Degrasse garnered more than $30,000 breaking into businesses’ safes, cash registers and ATM machines over the four-month period.
A search warrant was executed early on Thursday morning where investigators searched Degrasse's vehicles and apartment. Police found burglary tools including a mask, gloves, breaching tools, wire cutter and other physical evidence that directly linked him to the burglaries. Police also located money hidden in a compartment, located in Degrasse's bedside table. Based on the search, Degrasse was placed into custody.
He was arraigned in the Third Division District Court on Thursday morning where he was held without bail as a parole violator.
Degrasse was released earlier this year from the Adult Correctional Institution inCranston after being convicted of dozens of commercial breaks. This previous investigation and conviction in 2001 resulted in his incarceration for more than 10 years. Degrasse's previous convictions include breaking and entering, attempted breaking and entering, forgery and counterfeiting, receiving stolen goods, possession of burglary tools and being a fugitive from justice.
The investigation is ongoing with additional charges forthcoming in reference to other investigations throughout Rhode Island.
This arrest information was supplied by the Rhode Island State Police. It does not indicate a conviction.