Homeless man charged with being the guy who tried to get two pre-teens into an alley in Cambridge

Cambridge Police report arresting Lionel Ivan Brathwaite, Jr., this morning for an incident in which police say he grabbed a pre-teen girl's arm and tried to force her and her sister into an alley.

Police had obtained a warrant for his Brathwaite's arrest yesterday for two counts of kidnapping. Police say officers patrolling Central Square spotted him and arrested him at 7:25 this morning.

Police say the two sisters were walking home late Thursday afternoon when Brathwaite, smelling of alcohol, came up to them in the area of Pleasant and Auburn streets, asked them for directions, then grabbed one by the arm:

He then proceeded to walk with the sisters down several streets and then stopped at what was believed to be Salem Street. After asking the sisters if they wanted to go down an alley with him, the sisters said no, the suspect stated he was sorry and he then removed his hands from one of the sisters. They both then ran towards their home.

Police say they are continuing to investigate a separate incident on Feb. 3, in which a 17-year-old says she was followed home from Central Square by an unknown man.

Innocent, etc.

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Woman robs South Boston bank once a year; FBI hopes to put an end to that

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 14:00

The FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force is looking for a woman who robbed the East Boston Savings Bank branch at 430 West Broadway on Wednesday, about 11 months after she last robbed the same bank branch. Read more.

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Bicyclist killed in Fenway crash was Cambridge woman

State Police have identified the woman killed in a crash with a truck at Park Drive and Brookline Avenue yesterday as Paula Sharaga, 69, of Cambridge.

Sharaga was the children's librarian at the Coolidge Corner branch of the Public Library of Brookline. She leaves her husband, Eric.

State Police say three witnesses - including a trauma surgeon - who witnessed the crash between Sharaga and the driver of a cement truck around 1:45 p.m., immediately rushed to her and began CPR, but she was pronounced dead at nearby Brigham and Women's Hospital.

According to State Police, Sharaga:

Was riding in the intersection and came into contact with the front end of the truck. The sequence of events leading up the collision remain under investigation.

When Trooper [Keith] Deshler reached Sharaga he found two civilians performing CPR on her. He requested an ambulance. A third civilian approached and identified himself as a trauma physician and requested a ventilation bag, which Trooper Deshler was able to provide from his medical kit, and used it in an attempt to administer aid. Sharaga was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital by Boston EMS. She was pronounced deceased.

The operator of the Cement truck, a 67-year-old Salem man, was transported to Beth Israel Hospital.

No charges have been filed at this time.

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North Reading man convicted of attacking Muslim woman on the Orange Line

A Suffolk Superior Court judge yesterday convicted Sean Devlin, 35, of North Reading, for a 2017 incident on the Orange Line in which he screamed anti-Muslim slurs at a hijab-wearing woman returning home from a prayer service and then attacked her as she fled the train.

Today, the judge sentenced Devlin to two years in jail on his convictions for violating the victim’s constitutional rights, assault and battery for purpose of intimidation, assault and battery on a person over 60 and wanton destruction of property. But Judge Janet Sanders included the time he has already spent locked up after he was arrested at North Station, which means he could walk out of jail in four months.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she is considering appealing that sentence because he was behind bars during that time as punishment for unrelated convictions in Middlesex County.

The sentence as it was imposed does not reflect the seriousness of these offenses. Hate crimes spread fear across entire neighborhoods and communities. There are legal and moral reasons Devlin ought to serve a significant Suffolk County sentence for a serious Suffolk County crime.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of three years, to start today.

According to the DA's office:

Devlin was riding an Orange Line train on June 19, 2017, when he began shouting anti-Muslim slurs at the 61-year-old victim, who was wearing a hijab as she returned from a prayer service during Ramadan. Devlin mocked the woman, telling her to take it off and return to her country.

"This is my country," responded the woman, a resident of East Boston who had emigrated from Morocco and recently became an American citizen.

The evidence further showed that Devlin accused the woman of having a bomb in her bag and punched a window near her head, breaking it. As the woman left the train in fear, Devlin struck her.

Speaking through an interpreter, the victim told the court:

I used to cry daily and pray for justice. Why would someone attack me just for wearing something different? I am so thankful my rights were taken seriously … I am here for peace, tranquility, and safety.

She concluded her remarks in English:

God bless America.

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Chief justice of state's highest court once again has to reassure Muslims and immigrants that they have rights here

For the fourth year in a row today, Ralph Gants, chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, joined member of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury for their mid-day prayers. In remarks after the prayers, Gants said:

I come each year because it is the clearest way I know to communicate the continued commitment of the judiciary to protect your constitutional rights, and the rights of every resident in this Commonwealth, citizen and non-citizen, regardless of religion, skin color, or national origin. I would like to believe that there will come a time when you no longer need to be reassured of that commitment, when you can be confident that the rights of Muslims in this country will be honored and respected by those in power in our nation's capital, when only a handful of people on the fringe proclaim hate and ignorance. But that time is not yet here, so I continue to come.

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Bicyclist dies in crash involving cement truck in the Fenway

Crash scene. Photo by Lynda Gail.

UPDATE: Victim identified.

State Police report a pedestrian suffered "serious injury" in the crash at Brookline Avenue and Park Drive. NECN reports the bicyclist, a woman, died.

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At least two strange men going after girls, young women in Cambridge, police say

Video of suspect and victim on Williams St. on Feb. 13.

Cambridge Police report two incidents involving men who tried to get way closer to girls or young women than they should.

On Wednesday, police report:

Two sisters (who are pre-teenagers) were walking home together at approximately 5:15-5:30 p.m. and were reportedly approached by a man they had not seen before in the area of Pleasant Street and Auburn Street. The suspect asked for directions and grabbed one of the sisters by the arm. He then proceeded to walk with the sisters down several streets and then stopped at what was believed to be Salem Street. After asking the sisters if they wanted to go down an alley with him, the sisters said no, the suspect stated he was sorry and he then removed his hands from one of the sisters. They both then ran towards their home. The suspect was described as a black male, approximately 40-50 years old, approximately 5'8". He reportedly smelled of alcohol and was wearing a black jacket and beanie hat.

Police continue that the mother of a 17-year-old reported that on Feb. 3:

An unknown man had followed her daughter home from Central Square. The same man reportedly attempted to approach her daughter a year ago at her work and while she was walking home from school. He was described as a white or light-skinned male with a noticeable scar on his head. He is also bald and drives a black motor vehicle.

Police say they have stepped up patrols of both uniformed and plainclothes officers in the area of the two incidents and are "working closely with the families and school department with each of these incidents."

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