A man police called a common and notorious thief pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday after he allegedly broke into a Woburn home and attempted to flee the scene in a minivan with his children and wife, according to the clerk’s office.
Ralph M. Pasquarello, 39, and his wife, Salina J. Pasquarello, 26, were each charged with possession of class A drugs, five counts of child endangerment with risk of serious bodily injury, and failure to stop for police at their arraignment Tuesday morning in Woburn District Court.
Ralph Pasquarello was additionally charged with breaking and entering during the daytime, resisting arrest, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and malicious destruction of property, according to MaryBeth Long, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.
Salina Pasquarello was charged as an accessory after the fact, Long said.
On Friday, Woburn police responded to a house on Mayflower Road after receiving reports of a suspicious person around 5:30 p.m. Officers found Ralph Pasquarello in the house when they arrived, police said.
They noticed that the wires on a flat screen television inside the home had been cut and that the device had been moved from its stand, police said.
Ralph Pasquarello allegedly ran from the officers. When police caught up to him, they said, he struggled, swung his arms, and injured an officer. He then wriggled out of the sweat shirt officers were holding him by and ran toward a minivan, which was driven by his wife, police said.
In interviews with police, Ralph Pasquarello admitted to breaking and entering, cutting the television wires, and resisting arrest.
He said his wife was unaware he had broken into the home. He said he told her he was going to look at a house he might be painting and she waited nearby, police said.
When he got back in the minivan, police allege, Salina Pasquarello knew her husband was being pursued by police and drove away anyway.
Attorney Peter J. Parlow, who is representing Salina Pasquarello, said she was unaware of her husband’s activities.
“He jumped into that vehicle and forced her to drive; he held her foot down on the pedal,” said Parlow in a telephone interview. “She was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person.”
Police followed the van to Lexington. Salina Pasquarello stopped the car when police cruisers pulled up in front of it and behind it, police said.
When officers opened the door to the minivan, they were surprised to find five children, all under 7 years old, he said.
The couple were arrested, and the children were held in the Woburn police station until a representative from the state Department of Children and Families arrived.
The children have since been removed from their parents’ custody. Their names are not being released.
When searching the car, police found oxycodone and mirtazapine pills.
At Tuesday’s arraignment, Salina Pasquarello was held on $500 cash bail, while Ralph Pasquarello was held on $25,000 cash bail.
A judge ordered that the couple stay away from the victims and comply with directions of DCF. They are scheduled to return to court June 25, according to the clerk’s office.
Police requested Ralph Pasquarello be charged as a common and notorious thief, citing larceny convictions in 1993, 1995, 1996, 2007, and 2008.
Attorney James A. Hall is representing Ralph Pasquarello. In an interview by telephone Tuesday, Hall said his client is sorry.
“Sometimes things aren’t always as they appear,” said Hall. “But what is undisputed is that he loves his children and his wife.”
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