Break-in suspect indicted

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo. George Donahue Jr., pictured in May in Gloucester District Court, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to 10 break-ins at Gloucester businesses this spring.

The 42-year-old man accused of carrying out at least two break-ins at Gloucester businesses, in a string of more than 10 break-ins earlier this year, has been indicted by an Essex County grand jury and faces prison time if convicted on the charges.

George Donahue Jr., who is now listed in court documents as homeless but is formerly of Gloucester, was indicted earlier this week on two counts of receiving stolen property worth less than $1,200  and a single count of breaking and entering in the nighttime.

The indictments accuse Donahue of breaking into and taking an undefined amount of cash from the Causeway Restaurant on Essex Avenue on April 18, and of an earlier theft of a Dunkin' gift card owned by Wellspring House, whose headquarters are also on Essex Avenue. The break-ins were part of a rash of breaks that took place in the city between February and April.

Gloucester police Lt. Michael Gossom had said at the time of Donahue's arrest, at an Allston hotel where he had been staying, that police confiscated as many as 10 gift cards taken in the Wellspring break-in that were found in the hotel room.

Donahue remains held without bail in Middleton Jail, following a dangerousness hearing held in May in Gloucester District Court. He also faces charges stemming from a domestic incident in Gloucester 10 days prior to his April 30 arrest.

Carrie Kimball, communications director for the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said that a Salem Superior Court hearing on Donahue's charges had not been scheduled as of Friday.

The indictment ratchets up the case against Donahue in that it allows for the possibility of a state prison term. Under state sentencing guidelines, a district court judge cannot sentence any defendant to more than 2 1/2 years in a house of corrections such as Middleton, but a Superior Court judge has the leeway of sentencing defendants to longer terms and in a state prison.

If convicted of a single larceny count, a Superior Court judge could sentence Donahue to up to five years in prison.

Donahue was arrested after residents provided tips to detectives based on photos from surveillance footage that were circulated on Gloucester police social media accounts, and which also ran in the Times.

The series of break-ins began in February at the Saltwater Massage Studio on Pleasant Street, Gossom had said, and continued through late April when three offices within the Cape Ann Market Place complex anchored by the Eastern Avenue Shaw's supermarket were hit.

The thief or thieves also targeted, among others, Sunbanque on Prospect Street and Ben's Wallpaper & Paint Co. on Railroad Avenue.

Gossom had said that police were continuing to investigate whether anyone other than Donahue was actively involved in any of the break-ins, but no one else has been charged in the case.

Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or rlamont@gloucestertimes.com.

 


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