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Police: ‘One-Man Crime Spree’ Responsible For Beverly Jewelry Store Thefts

SALEM  (AP) — A man described by police as a “one-man crime spree” who has a criminal record that stretches across the country has been charged with a pair of Massachusetts jewelry store robberies, and authorities he may be responsible for about a dozen more.

James Radler, 51, pleaded not guilty Monday in Salem District Court to two counts each of breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property and to being a fugitive from justice. He was ordered held on $750,000 bail.

Radler faces charges in connection with robberies at the same Beverly store about a week apart in December and January. In both, a 15- to 20-pound dumbbell was found inside the store that police say was used to smash glass doors and display cases. Police think he may be responsible for more than a dozen “smash-and-grab” burglaries in New England and New York in which nearly $500,000 worth of merchandise was stolen.

DNA recovered from blood at the store tied Radler to the scene, prosecutors said, and he was arrested over the weekend at a Danvers hotel.

“Removing this criminal from our streets has made Beverly and surrounding communities safer,” Chief Mark Ray said.

Radler’s record includes convictions in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Alabama, Idaho, Maine and New York, authorities said. At the time of the Beverly burglaries, he was out on bail in a Rhode Island case. He was also on parole in an Idaho fraud case and is wanted on warrants out of Washington and Vermont.

Radler’s lawyer, Edward McNaught, argued for $5,000 bail, saying his clients’ most recent conviction was 2005. He added that the only connection between Radler and the Beverly burglaries is the DNA.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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