By PHILLIP BANTZ
The Keene Sentinel: May 15, 2009
The man accused of masquerading as a U.S. marshal while robbing two business owners in Chesterfield earlier this week was nabbed Thursday by the real U.S. Marshals.
John P. Baldasaro, 45, of Somerville, Mass., was arrested without incident at a New York City hotel after tips from confidential sources put police on his trail, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeffrey White said.
Police say Baldasaro posed as a U.S. marshal, businessman and federal agent while robbing, stealing and kidnapping in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts — he was listed among the Bay State’s most wanted.
U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said in a statement that the string of crimes “were an attack on the reputation of U.S. Marshals, and not something that is taken lightly; the quick and successful arrest of Baldasaro by the U.S. Marshals is evidence of that.”
While Baldasaro allegedly displayed a handgun during some of the robberies, placing the barrel against one victim’s head in Massachusetts, he was unarmed when he was arrested, White said.
He declined to comment on whether Baldasaro was still driving the black Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo that was reported stolen in Maine and used during the robberies in Chesterfield.
U.S. Marshals tracked Baldasaro to the Brooklyn-Manhattan area through tips and “good old-fashioned police work,” and eventually found him at a Manhattan hotel after canvassing the area, White said.
Baldasaro will be arraigned on a charge of being a fugitive from justice in New York and then authorities will attempt to extradite him to New Hampshire, where he faces charges of robbery and kidnapping, White said.
While posing as a U.S. marshal investigating a counterfeit cash operation Monday morning, he convinced the owners of Khyber Convenience Store and Big Deal on Route 9 in Chesterfield to hand over cash from their stores, police said. He even talked one of the owners into giving him cash from his bank account, police said.
Baldasaro, who is being held without bail, may fight or waive extradition to the Granite State. If he waives extradition, he could be brought back sooner than if he fights the process.
He also faces charges of robbery, kidnapping and impersonating a police officer in Cambridge, Mass.; vehicle theft in Lincoln County, Maine; and a parole violation in Vermont stemming from a previous kidnapping conviction.
While it’s unclear which state Baldasaro will be extradited to first, White said he believed New Hampshire will be his initial stop. And that suits Chesterfield police Lt. Duane M. Chickering.
Chickering worked 16-hour shifts tracking Baldasaro alongside another detective, who spent at least 12 hours each day on the case.
“We’ve actually had the whole department working on this,” Chickering said. “The patrol units were out there doing follow-ups and the secretary was here logging all the tips we received.”
The brazenness of the robberies in Chesterfield coupled with the robber’s history of impersonating law enforcement struck a bitter chord with police and shook up the communities where the crimes occurred, Chickering said.
“People need to trust the police. When that trust is betrayed it kills everyone in law enforcement,” he said. “Now we have to work that much harder to gain everybody’s trust.”