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Jamaica Plain man charged as one-man car-window-smashing crime wave

A Jamaica Plain man went on a weeks-long car-smashing rampage through Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, using a tool designed to break car windows and packing some brass knuckles in case anybody tried to get in his way, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office charges.

Justin Caterson, 32, was finally corralled by Boston Police on March 28 after two officers spotted him in the Southwest Corridor Park at Stony Brook station, the DA's office says.

Now he faces 11 counts of breaking and entering vehicle/boat nighttime for felony, five counts of vandalizing property, three counts of larceny under $1,200, and trespassing in Roxbury court and charges of possession of a burglarious instrument, carrying a dangerous weapon (brass knuckles), trespassing, and resisting arrest, breaking and entering vehicle/boat nighttime for felony and vandalizing property in West Roxbury court.

The DA's office adds it is also preparing to charge him he will also be charged with breaking into fourteen motor vehicles on March 19.

Among the incidents reported by the DA's office:

  • Jan. 5, Vancouver Street, behind Wentworth campus: Driver's side window smash, black back with $300 in cash, health-insurance cards, charging cables, a charger, clothing and a hygiene kit stolen.
  • Jan. 15, 8:07 a.m., Wayland Street, Dorchester: Windows smashed on passenger side.
  • Jan. 15, 10:13 a.m., Dale Street, Roxbury: Five people had their car windows broken; one Android phone stolen.
  • Jan. 19, Westminster Court, Roxbury: Driver's side window smashed, car jumper kit stolen.
  • Jan. 22, 7:30 a.m., Copeland Street, Roxbury: Front passenger window smashed.
  • March 15, 8:34 a.m., Parker Hill Avenue, Mission Hill: Two cars with shattered windows.
  • March 19, Carmel Street, Delle Avenue, Sewall Street, Mission Hill: A total of 14 vehicles broken into.
  • March 28, 12:45 a.m, Jamaica Street, Jamaica Plain, car window smashed.
  • March 28, 2:37 a.m. Officers spot Caterson in front of Stony Brook station.
  • March 24, Judge Street, Mission Hill: Driver's side window smashed.
  • March 24, 1:30 - 2 a.m., Sunset Street, Mission Hill: Man broke into cars by trying doors, then breaking windows.

The DA's office provided an account of the night police finally caught up with Caterson:

At about 12:45 a.m. on March 28, officers were notified that a male, wearing a black hoodie, about 5’9”, smashed a vehicle’s window on Jamaica Street before fleeing the scene.

At about 2:37 a.m. on March 28, Boston police observed a male matching the description of the suspect from Jamaica Street walking through the park across from the Stony Brook MBTA station. As officers approached the male, later identified as Caterson, he fled and attempted to jump over a fence. Caterson refused multiple commands and violently resisted officers before they could safely place him into custody.

Officers recovered brass knuckles, an orange tool typically used to shatter windows, a Swiss army knife with a name not belonging to Caterson inscribed on it, and a Bank of America Card and a Maine ID that also did not belong to Caterson, from his cross body bag.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

By any chance, is this the same Justin Caterson who was arrested for breaking into the Connolly branch library in Jamaica Plain back in 2021, as reported here?

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Voting closed 39

Yes, the same Justin Jaleel Caterson.

After his arrest for the BPL break-in, he was ordered to stay away from all BPL branches and to enroll in the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program, a joint mental-health program run by both our BMCs (Boston Municipal Court and Boston Medical Center):

The program provides intensive social, mental health, and substance use disorder services designed to help court-involved clients maintain stability, achieve recovery within the community, and avoid hospitalization and incarceration. ...Our goals are to eliminate barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness, remove the stigma associated with mental health diagnoses and work towards decriminalizing mental illness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

On June 27, 2023, West Roxbury Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Coffey dismissed the B&E charge against Caterson after he completed the BOAT program.

She is now the judge overseeing the new charges against him in West Roxbury court (another judge is handling the Roxbury court cases).

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Voting closed 28

He was more lucky with the prev DA

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Voting closed 47

It's infuriating. This guy needs years behind bars, not months.
I wouldn't hold my breath on a long sentence, I hope I'm wrong

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Voting closed 52

That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Years in prison?!!?!! With the cold heart that you have I wonder what terrible things you've done to people in your life. If I thought prison would actually change a person's behavior or rehabilitate them in some way I would recommend that you spend years in prison just for making that comment. My god.

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Voting closed 21

Here we have someone who repeatedly destroys other people’s property, who can’t or won’t control his own behavior. The state has tried a state-of-the-art non-incarceration solution, which did not work. Now what?

The state has an obligation to protect us by placing a secure physical barrier between him and the rest of us. Not because he deserves punishment, but because other efforts to protect the rest of us have failed. Personally, I would like his confinement to be comfortable and not punitive.

Do you have an alternative proposal?

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Voting closed 12

It doesn’t seem so, from what I gather.
So by protecting us I think you mean protecting our property.

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Voting closed 13

Protecting our property is a legitimate state interest, is it not?

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Voting closed 18

… legitimate state interest as well.

You say in your other comment that he received “a state of the art non incarceration solution ”.
What is state of the art non incarceration for the possibly mentally ill and does it actually exist in Massachusetts or elsewhere in the US?
Do we even spend a fraction of the amount of money needed on mental health or on rehabilitation of criminals?

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Voting closed 11

Only a matter of time.

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Voting closed 12

Are your car windows made of solid gold or something?

When does years of a person’s life ever equal the value of property?

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Voting closed 14

I'm talking about the person in the story, not who ever smashed our car windows and ransacked our cars, they were never caught.
The person in this story deserves years in prison, if you don't agree then you don't agree.

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Voting closed 17

Hulk smash!

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Voting closed 20

Burglarious.

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Voting closed 21