A suspect has been arrested in connection with a major investigation into an organized criminal enterprise stretching from Massachusetts to Florida that allegedly had scammers posing as municipal water employees so they could gain entry to people's homes.
Paul Mitchell of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested by Florida and federal law enforcement on numerous charges out of Stoughton earlier this month, Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara announced Friday morning.
A second man, Stanley Mitchell, is still wanted by Stoughton police in connection with the scam.
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Stoughton police said their investigation started on Feb. 2, when a man showed up to an elderly woman's home and told her he was from the town's water department and needed to check her meter.
The man allegedly flashed a fake ID badge, then pushed the woman and barged inside the home. The woman tried to call 911, but the man allegedly took the phone from her hand.
The victim managed to ultimately call police as the suspect, later identified as Stanley Mitchell, escaped through the home's basement, hopped over a fence and ran through an alleyway until he arrived at a parking lot and got into a car, which was caught on surveillance video, according to investigators. He allegedly stole a ring before running away.
Investigators said information from Andover police about another, similar attempted ruse led them to surveillance video that revealed the vehicle used to get away from the scenes was rented by Enterprise to Paul Mitchell, the alleged getaway driver.
Stanley Mitchell was eventually identified by Stoughton investigators with the help of Pennsylvania State Police.
Paul Mitchell was arrested on March 5, waived extradition and was brought back to Stoughton by investigators on Thursday. He's been charged with breaking and entering a dwelling in the daytime, larceny over $1,200 and conspiracy to commit a crime.
When Stanley Mitchell is apprehended by law enforcement, he will also face numerous charges, including assault and battery on a person over 60.
Police said Paul Mitchell and Stanley Mitchell are related; however, how they are exactly related is unclear at this time. They claimed to be "members of the gypsy community," according to McNamara.
The investigation is ongoing.