A former police officer resigned from his job in Everett, Massachusetts, amid accusations that he harassed a Lynnfield woman by dumping trash — including firecrackers — on her lawn for several months.
Stephen Berardino, 27, has been charged with harassment in the case, which Lynnfield Police began investigating in 2018.
According to the criminal complaint, a 58-year-old woman reported to police that someone in a dark colored truck had been driving by her home late at night and throwing piles of trash onto her front lawn, including firecrackers that were set off in the middle of the night.
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After several incidents, the woman installed a security camera to capture the vehicle. Lynnfield Police reviewed the footage and traced the truck to Berardino, who had recently started working for Everett Police.
Monday, Berardino had no comment about the case or a possible motive when NBC10 Boston tried to interview him following a hearing at Peabody District Court. However, his attorney contended he is innocent.
"Mr. Berardino has confidence in the legal system and is confident he will be exonerated," said his attorney, Elyse Hershon.
According to Lynnfield Police, officers worked with Berardino's own department to set up surveillance at the alleged victim's home. In April of 2018, months after the alleged harassment had started, they reported they saw Berardino throw a plastic bottle on the lawn and drive off.
After receiving details of the case, Everett's police chief suspended Berardino without pay.
"This type of behavior is unacceptable as an Everett Police officer and is not consistent with our values," wrote Chief Steven Mazzie in a letter in April 2018.
In total, Lynnfield Police said the woman’s surveillance footage captured Berardino at the home 45 times. While the property is located near his parents' home, there has been no other indication as to how Berardino knows the woman and why he would allegedly harass her.
The case returns to court in March.