A man charged with breaking into a mosque in Methuen, Massachusetts, and stealing a donation box, two computers and other electronics was arrested after he was robbed at gunpoint by two other men.
William Ortiz, 38, of Methuen, is charged with breaking and entering during the nighttime to commit a felony and larceny of property over $250.
Methuen Police said they were called to the Selimiye Mosque on Oakland Avenue on June 3 for a reported breaking and entering. The imam told detectives that someone had broken in either late Thursday night or early Friday morning and stolen several items, including the donation box, a computer, a laptop, a network router and a video camera.
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Later that same day, detectives were called to an address on Railroad Street for a report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival they learned that two men had robbed Ortiz after watching him in the parking lot trying to pull money out of the metal donation box he had stolen using a coat hanger.
After interviewing Ortiz, police arrested him. They were able to recover the stolen property and return it to the mosque. Police said they believe that drug money might have been the motive behind the burglary.
Also arrested for the armed robbery of Ortiz were Josue Marrero, 29, and Julio Medina Pimental, 32, both of Lawrence. They are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, receiving stolen property over $250, trafficking in heroin and armed robbery. Marrero also had multiple outstanding warrants. Police also located more than 54 grams of heroin and a stolen, loaded handgun.