WOONSOCKET â€“ It seemed like the case was all tied up, as police sometimes say, neat as a bow.
Alas, when Miguel A. Rondon confessed to stealing a pocketbook Wednesday, it was not to be.
Before the afternoon was over, a policeman would be head-butted by Rondonâ€™s younger brother, a woman arrested for harboring a fugitive, and a missing juvenile flushed from hiding.
It all began about 11 a.m. when a caseworker at Family Resources Inc., 55 Main St., told police one of her clients had stolen her purse. Police caught up with Rondon, 21, about an hour later, pacing the sidewalk in front of his apartment at 65 Arnold St.
The police had had warrants out for the arrest of Rondonâ€™s brother Mario, 19, since June 2, following a temper tantrum in which he allegedly chipped his girlfriendâ€™s tooth, damaged her belongings and smashed up furniture. Police hadnâ€™t made an arrest because they werenâ€™t sure where he could be located.
All that changed when a policeman, shortly after starting his shift, noticed Miguel in a jail cell about 5 p.m. Wednesday and recognized him as the younger Rondonâ€™s brother. Miguel allegedly told the officer not only where his sibling could be found, but warned them that he would try to hide if he knew the police were coming.
The address turned out to be the same as Miguelâ€™s â€“ 65 Arnold St., Apt. 3F.
Alesha Lucchesi, 21, who answered the door, allegedly denied that Mario was in the apartment. At her invitation, the police came in to take a look.
At first blush, all they found was a male juvenile â€“ Lucchesiâ€™s brother â€“ who appeared to be asleep on a mattress in the bedroom. Police looked under and around the bed frame, but all they could see was clutter.
Upon closer inspection, police saw Marioâ€™s foot sticking out. They lifted the mattress and found Mario â€ścurled up into a ballâ€ť underneath it, according to a police report.
As police pulled Mario to his feet, a brief struggle ensued during which Patrolman Joseph Brazil was allegedly head-butted by the suspect. He wasnâ€™t seriously injured.
Since Lucchesi was identified as the victim of the alleged assault by Mario Rondon earlier this month, police say she must have known he was wanted on criminal charges. Police charged her with harboring a fugitive for deliberately hiding him from the authorities, they said.
Police also claim the boy on the mattress was pretending to be asleep to divert their attention from Rondon, so they charged the juvenile with obstructing. Police said he was also listed as a missing person out of Middletown and notified the authorities there that they had located him.
In addition to assaulting a police officer, Mario Rondon was arrested on warrants charging him with domestic assault, domestic disorderly conduct, domestic refusal to relinquish a telephone and domestic vandalism.
In the end, the police never found the pocketbook that launched the ordeal. Though Miguel Rondon told police he tossed it in a Dumpster across the street from Family Resources, a search turned up nothing.
The caseworker who identified Miguel Rondon as the suspected thief said the pocketbook contained about $35 in cash, credit cards and other personal items. He was charged with misdemeanor larceny in that case.