Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announced that on Thursday, July 26, members of the Rhode Island State Police, assisted by local police officers from the Towns of and West Warwick, arrested forty-six-year-old David R. Degrasse of 38 East Street, Apartment 2, West Warwick, on three (3) counts of Breaking and Entering into a Building at Night with Intent to Commit a Felony, Attempted Breaking and Entering and Possession of Burglary Tools.
Over the course of the last four months, members of the Rhode Island State Police Detective Bureau conducted an investigation regarding forcible entries into commercial businesses throughout the State of Rhode Island. The businesses appeared to have been targeted, and the method of operation was professionally executed. Prior to entering the business, the alarm systems were purposely deactivated. Once inside, the businesses’ safes, cash registers and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) were breached. After gaining access, more than $30,000 in United States Currency was stolen from the three separate businesses.
As a result of the in-depth investigation, members were able to identify Degrasse as a suspect. Degrasse has an extensive criminal history, dating back to 1984, for Breaking and Entering, Attempted Breaking and Entering, Forgery and Counterfeiting, Receiving Stolen Goods, Possession of Burglary Tools and being a Fugitive from Justice. He was released earlier this year from the Adult Correctional Institution after being convicted of dozens of commercial breaks. This previous investigation and conviction in 2001 resulted in his incarceration for more than ten (10) years.
This current investigation shadowed the previous case in the similar method of operation. Members obtained and reviewed video footage of the establishments then began tracing the path of Degrasse’s locations during the crimes. Various surveillance techniques were deployed, which led members to the Town of Tiverton last week. During the early morning hours, members narrowly missed Degrasse as he attempted to break into a business. Tiverton Police assisted in this aspect of the investigation, and Degrasse was unsuccessful in his attempt; however, members were able to further solidify the case against him. Arrest warrants and search warrants were obtained for Degrasse, his vehicles and his aforementioned residence.
During the early morning hours of Thursday, July 26, members executed the warrants. Degrasse was arrested, and a search of his vehicles and residence resulted in the seizure of burglary tools, to include a mask, gloves, breaching tools, wire cutter and other physical evidence that directly linked him to the criminal acts. Additionally, members located and seized United States currency that had been secreted in a hidden compartment, located in a bedside table.
Degrasse was returned to State Police Headquarters, processed and arraigned in the Third Division District Court on the aforementioned charges. He was held without bail as a parole violator.
The investigation is ongoing with additional charges forthcoming in reference to other investigations throughout Rhode Island.