WOONSOCKET — Two men have been arrested and a third remains at large in the theft of an assault rifle in a house break on Pine Street last month, police said.
Emmanuel Rodriguez, 18, was arrested on a warrant for breaking and entering after a SWAT team surrounded his house on Cedar Street in Pawtucket on Friday.
A day earlier, police arrested Ernest Brochu, 18, of 457 Park Ave., after they searched his apartment and found a Springfield SR9 rifle he allegedly obtained from Rodriguez. Among other things, Brochu was charged with possession of a stolen weapon after a conviction for a violent crime, according to court records.
Detective Lt. Eugene Jalette said the .308-caliber Springfield is sold as a semi-automatic weapon, which means it is capable of firing only one round each time the trigger is depressed. But it can be converted into a fully automatic weapon that sprays bullets continuously as long as the trigger is held down — a machine gun, basically.
“It's illegal, but it can be done,” he said.
Rodriguez and another Pawtucket man whom police declined to identify allegedly broke into the home of a Pine Street couple on Feb. 7, stealing the rifle, a .38-caliber revolver and a pellet pistol. Also stolen was an assortment of ammunition, including hollow-point bullets for the revolver.
Hollow points, so-named for the concave depression in their nose, are designed to break apart upon impact, making them especially deadly.
Police obtained an arrest warrant for Rodriguez after they lifted his fingerprints off a windowsill at the Pine Street residence, according to reports.
It was the second time Rodriguez has been implicated in the theft of firearms and other weapons since last fall. On Oct. 4, he was charged with breaking and entering after police recovered two powerful hunting bows and a black-powder rifle stolen in a local house break. Jalette said police found the weapons hidden behind a house on Transit Street and tied Rodriguez to the theft after a backpack with his name on it turned up in the house that had been broken into.
Police caught a lucky break when they found the Springfield at Brochu's house last week. Jalette said police went to Brochu's house on an unrelated matter and found that he was in possession of marijuana. As a result, they conducted a search of Brochu's apartment during which the weapon was recovered.
Rodriguez and Brochu are both held without bail at the ACI pending hearings in District Court. Rodriguez is also charged with violating the terms of his bail in the October break and Brochu faces felony drug charges unrelated to the weapons count.