Convicted drug dealer charged as one-man armed robbery spree along Blue Hill Avenue

Seven months after his release from a 15-year federal sentence for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, Imauri Ivery began repeatedly robbing several stores along Blue Hill Avenue within a short run of his Elm Hill Park home, Suffolk County prosecutors said today.

A Suffolk County grand jury yesterday indicted Ivery, 38, on 20 counts of armed robbery, 4 counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, 2 counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, 2 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, 2 counts of carrying a loaded firearm and 1 count of armed assault with intent to rob, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports, adding that if convicted, he faces stiffer penalties as a career criminal.

In addition to the successful holdups at four Blue Hill Avenue, Ivery tried but failed to hold up the South Street Diner on Kneeland Street near South Station, the DA's office says.

Ivery, who already had several drug convictions on his record, was arrested in 2002 in Chinatown and found in possession of a gun. He was turned over to the feds. The next year, he pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

He won his release in January, 2016, seven months before he began robbing stores to which he could walk from home, the DA's office reports. He has been in custody since his arraignment in April on gun charges related to the semi-automatic pistol police say they found in his home during a search related to the investigation of the sudden spurt of robberies along Blue Hill Avenue.

According to the DA's office:

The first of the Blue Hill Avenue robberies targeted a convenience store on August 31, 2016, where an assailant carrying two firearms stole from the register and took an employee’s cell phone and a customer’s wallet.

On Sept. 24, 2016, the same man carried two firearms as he robbed a Blue Hill Avenue market and assaulted and robbed a customer; he again displayed two firearms when he struck the market in a second armed robbery Nov. 18.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2016, the assailant pointed two guns at a customer of Kneeland Street diner but fled without taking any of the victim’s belongings. The suspect wore a distinctive jacket and two-toned sneakers during the robbery that were later recovered from Ivery’s closet during the execution of a search warrant. Images captured by surveillance cameras in the area depict a silver vehicle that RMV records link to a relative of Ivery, prosecutors said.

A Blue Hill Avenue restaurant, its employees, and customers were robbed Oct. 11, 2016, by a man carrying two guns and who discharged a firearm into the air as an employee followed him from the location. The suspect was wearing the same distinctive clothing worn during the Oct. 4 robbery. He wore the same clothing when he robbed the same restaurant Oct. 27, 2016, and again on Jan. 1.

Surveillance cameras show the man once again wearing the same jacket and shoes as he robbed another market on Blue Hill Avenue on Dec. 22 and again Jan. 28. He fired a gun as the victims pursued him while he fled the second robbery.

In several of the incidents, the assailant was observed fleeing the robberies in the same direction as Ivery’s Elm Hill Park residence. Shell casings recovered along the assailant’s path of flight following the Oct. 11 and Jan. 28 robberies were found to be .380 caliber ammunition; a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol was recovered during the execution of a search warrant at Ivery’s home in February, prosecutors said.

Innocent, etc.

Medical-marijuana dispensary approved on Newbury Street, but could face legal battle

UPDATE: Guy actually supports the thing.

The Board of Appeal yesterday approved a medical-marijuana dispensary at 331A-333 Newbury St., after the proposed operator agreed to not seek permission to sell recreational pot, to obtain at least 10 spaces in a nearby garage for customers and to pay for police details to go after pot smokers on the Commonwealth Avenue mall.

But Compassionate Organics' Geoffrey Reilinger could face a legal fight. Residents opposed to the measure have hired attorney and former City Councilor Lawrence DiCara to fight the proposal, which they and DiCara said would expose too many children to the idea of marijuana consumption.

At the hearing, DiCara also raised the specter of a Newbury Street gridlocked by double-parking customers - who he said would light up in the alley between Newbury and Comm. Ave. - and by fleets of armored cars delivering marijuana to the facility and driving away the cash he said patients would have to use because federally insured banks are not allowed to process credit-card transactions for marijuana dispensaries.

And then there was Oliver Curme, a retired venture capitalist who lives on Commonwealth Avenue (and not represented by DiCara), who opposed the proposed dispensary because of the icky people he said would patronize it:

It'll bring undesirable elements into the neighborhood, and just so you know what I mean, there are Army vets with PTSD and we don't want them in the neighborhood, you know, just give me a break, they can get over it.

And the second thing, is people with wheelchairs, with MS, or whatever [here board members told him to limit himself to zoning issues]. Third one is women with breast cancer. They all have that cadaverous look and they wear those ridiculous turbans, and for goodness sake, [here board members tried and failed to get him to sit down] Newbury Street is our high-end shopping district, we don't want people like that scaring off the clientele.

The city's first medical dispensary opened on Milk Street downtown in August, 2016, a year after the zoning board approved it.

At the hearing yesterday, a representative of one Back Bay doctor supported the proposal, saying it could help in the fight against opioids by giving people a way to come off opioid addiction. Margaret Huff-Rousselle, a health-policy professor who lives on Commonwealth Avenue, said she has a Harvard colleague who is still forced to turn to the black market for medical marijuana because there are too few places to buy it legally.

Ann Hochberg, attorney for the family that has owned the Newbury Street building since 1962, said the use is a good one for "the funkier end of Newbury Street," which she said is already facing empty storefronts because of competition from online retailers. Local unions representing carpenters and electricians also supported the proposal because Reilinger has agreed to hire union workers to build out the facility.

The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay opposed the proposal. Chairman Martyn Roetter said the civic group is not opposed to the idea of a medical marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood, but said it shouldn't be on a street where people live and children congregate. Dispensaries should be in locations where children only "rarely and fleetingly in passing by" might become aware of marijuana. In contrast, the Newbury Street location means "many children" will be "permanently and inevitably exposed to its impact."

Nearby residents with children agreed. Susan Baker, who lives on Beacon Street, said her son walks by the proposed location twice a day on his way to and from school and said "hundreds of other kids will be exposed on a daily basis." She added, "We just don't want Newbury Street, because it directly abuts the residential neighborhood, to be a destination for people to come and procure marijuana."

Ross, whose council district included the Back Bay, however, retorted that's not a legal reason to block the dispensary, because state laws related to dispensaries and proximity to children are related to such things as schools, not streets on which children might walk.

He said the 300 to 325 customers a day Reilinger expects would be only a small fraction of the type of traffic a Starbucks or similar retail outlet would see on Newbury Street, and said Reilinger has an agreement with the nearby Somerset Garage to let his customers park there during their visits - and that he would pick up the tab.

But that assertion brought an angry retort from Dr. Patricia Brown, who lives on Hereford Street and who has been on the garage board of trustees for 18 years - she said she has never heard of such an agreement and said she doubted it was even possible given how little space there is there.

Ross said he had talked to somebody named Youssef at the garage, and said Reilinger did not want to commit to a formal contract before he won final permission to build. The zoning board said it didn't care where Reilinger had his patrons park, but said they would not sign off on their approval until after he shows a signed contract with some garage operator in the area for use of at least 10 spaces.

Josh Zakim, who took over Ross's seat when Ross ran for mayor four years ago, opposed the location. Kate Ball, one of his aides, said that, like NABB, Zakim believes a dispensary in the Back Bay could work in a less visible location, rather than on "arguably Boston's premier retail street."

Mayor Marty Walsh took a stand of neither opposition nor support.

Watch the hearing.

Boylston Street to get another 'healthy' restaurant

The Board of Appeal yesterday approved plans to turn a former candy shop into a Mediterranean appetizer place on Boylston Street.

Cava Mezze Grill will replace the closed Sugar Heaven at 667 Boylston St. and add 16 outdoor patio seats.

The new restaurant is "a healthy food alternative with a Mediterranean kind of style to it, if you will," its attorney, Dennis Quilty told the board. "It's very popular around the country."

The mayor's office supported the proposal. The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, which never formally supports anything, did not oppose it.

Some workers at UMass Boston to lose jobs or hours as school tries to right finances

UMass Boston administrators today notified its workforce that 40 workers will either be laid off or have the hours reduced because of the school's continuing financial issues. The cuts are in addition to the 50 workers who took "voluntary separation."

Offices to become residential units on Border Street in East Boston

The Board of Appeal yesterday approved plans by the owner of 135-139 Border St. to gut what is now a three-story office building and turn the upper two floors into apartments or condos.

The board waived the lot's normal zoning requirements for both open space and parking because the building already takes up 100% of the lot with no room for either plantings or parking spaces. The attorney for owner David Shulman said the building is within a ten-minute walk of the Maverick Blue Line stop and near five bus lines.

With the approval, the building will go from one residential unit to seven.

However, the board did deny the Shulman's request to exempt him from a requirement to do something about the potential fire hazard to a neighboring building that would come from existing windows on one side of the building. The attorney said the board should exempt the windows, installed in 1977, because the new use does not increase the fire risk, but the board agreed with member Anthony Pisani that since the project is a complete gut job, it needs to be brought up to modern code. Shulman can appeal the denial to the state.

Boston staves off demolition of two 19th-century townhouses in Maverick Square

The Boston Preservation Alliance reports the Boston Landmark Commission tonight ordered a developer to hold off on tearing down two adjacent townhouses on Maverick Street built in the 1870s, for at least two years. East Boston residents and preservationists had teamed up to try to save them from being replaced with yet another building that looks like every other building put up over the past couple years.

'60s rock icon tells Trump fans in Massachusetts to give his shows a miss

Seems David Crosby (of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, and sometimes Young) played the Regent Theatre in Arlington last night. And seems he said some things that might offend the snowflakes who support the current president:

To which Crosby replied:

H/t Ben Becker.