A man carrying Russian identification is being investigated by authorities after he took photos of Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s Beacon Hill home Sunday afternoon, drawing concern from the dignitary’s Secret Service special agents.
Vladimir Romanov was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Monday on alcohol-
related charges and released on his own recognizance, but the judge ordered that his bail be revoked on unrelated charges stemming from an assault in Quincy in April. He was also ordered held on a warrant sought by probation officers for allegedly violating terms of his probation on a drunken driving case in Waltham District Court. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Kerry was visiting his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital when security officers said they saw the man taking photos of the couple’s house in Louisburg Square. Heinz Kerry was recovering after falling ill on Nantucket earlier this month.
Romanov, 29, of West Roxbury, was apprehended at 4 p.m. Sunday over possession of an open bottle of blackberry brandy that police spotted in his car, authorities said.
In the vehicle, police said they also found a Luger pellet gun, three cellphones, and a black canvas bag holding seven carbon dioxide cartridges, which were all seized as evidence. Boston police arrested Romanov after getting a call for assistance from Secret Service special agents in charge of Kerry’s security.
Romanov was initially taking the photos while in his parked car, then got out to move closer to the Kerry home, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Neil Flynn said in court.
Secret Service agents asked to look at the photos, and Romanov responded by deleting the digital images, according to authorities. When Romanov was asked for identification, he gave them a Russian identification card. Pressed for a Massachusetts identification card, Romanov responded, “I cannot do that at this time.”
Romanov’s citizenship status was unclear Monday. Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said officials were unsure about his status, but that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has never lodged an immigration detainer against him, which the agency routinely does in cases when the defendant is not a US citizen. Officials at ICE did not respond to an e-mail inquiry.
No clear explanation was offered in court as to why Romanov was taking photos.
When agents asked him why, he responded, according to the police report, “My friend is in jail and I want to show him pictures of the bars on the window.”
Defense lawyer Andrea McGeehan said in court that Romanov was a civil engineer and a self-employed tiler who lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife of four years. Boston police and the district attorney’s office, however, said he was from West Roxbury.
At the request of Flynn, Boston Municipal Court Judge Debra Shopteese revoked Romanov’s bail on a charge of open assault with a dangerous weapon pending in Quincy District Court.
Romanov also had his driver’s license suspended twice last year for driving under the influence after failing breathalyzer tests, once after police arrested him in Waltham when he failed a breathalyzer test.
He was ordered to take an alcohol awareness course.
Romanov’s next Boston court date is set for Sept. 25.