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Methuen man charged in case of stolen N.H. safe

Shawn Russell

Shawn Russell

A Methuen man has been arrested in a Salem, N.H., burglary on Monday in which thieves made off with a safe that police said contained $210,000 in cash.

Shawn Russell, 30, was allegedly found with $40,000 in cash and 42 grams of heroin when he was captured Thursday in Methuen, authorities said.

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He was arraigned Friday in Lawrence District Court on multiple charges, including trafficking heroin, receiving stolen property, and resisting arrest.

A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Russell also faces a charge of being a fugitive from justice in New Hampshire.

He is being held without bail on the fugitive charge and $500,000 cash bail for the other charges, and is to return to court for a probable cause hearing on June 11, a court clerk said.

Michael Meucci

Police in New Hampshire and Massachusetts had been searching for three suspects, one of whom was Russell, authorities said.

They have identified a second suspect, Michael Meucci, 31, of Salem, N.H. Authorities said he is at large and should be considered armed and dangerous.

According to Salem police, officers responded to a burglary at a home on Main Street just before 6 p.m. Monday. Witnesses described seeing three men break into the home, steal a safe, and flee in a dark-colored Kia.

As the suspects drove away, the Kia struck another car parked in the driveway next door, damaging both vehicles, police said.

Salem police identified Russell as a person of interest and traveled with Methuen police to his last known address, in that community, just across the state border. At his home, officers discovered a damaged blue Kia similar to the one identified by witnesses in Salem. They also located an empty safe, which witnesses said had been forced open by three men, who removed its contents and drove away in another car, officials said.

The Kia and empty safe were seized as evidence, and a warrant was issued to search the car. Inside the vehicle, officers discovered several ski masks, two-way radios, knives, zip ties, Airsoft pistols, and gloves, police said.

On Thursday, police learned that Russell would be traveling to a grocery store on Haverhill Street in Methuen Thursday afternoon. While watching the store’s parking lot, detectives saw a silver Honda, driven by Russell, approach.

Police boxed in the Honda; they arrested Russell after a brief struggle. Police then found the cash and drugs, Patten said.

Globe correspondent Jacqueline Tempera contributed to this report. Catalina Gaitan can be reached at catalina.gaitan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.
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