The first time, his shoelaces gave him away.
This time, it was an anonymous tipster.
A caller to Crime Stoppers reported Trevor Lucas, a tall, bald, and blue-eyed 32-year-old with an eerie criminal past and a complicated mental health history. He lived in the North End.
“He was asking a lot of questions about how to kill someone without getting caught,” the tipster told the Boston Police Department’s Crime Stoppers tip line in February. “He was asking if [someone] could get their hands on anything that could paralyze or kill a person.”
Lucas had shown the tipster a sports bottle filled with liquid GHB, an illegal substance known as the date-rape drug, according to an 86-page transcript of Lucas’s Aug. 7 detention hearing in US District Court obtained by the Globe.
As a result of the phone call and an undercover agent’s four-month rapport with Lucas, the FBI arrested Lucas on July 28 and searched his apartment at 143 Fulton St. Lucas’s father, Louis Lucas, owns the building. The search extended into the basement.
The raid on that sweaty summer day lasted until well after dark. The crime scene tape drew curious neighbors to the residential street. They speculated about why a violent crimes task force and evidence response team were there. Eyebrows rose when Hazmat personnel showed up.
Investigators took Louis Lucas aside and gave him court documents. He sat on a stoop and read. He told a reporter he had “no idea” what was going on. “I wish I knew,” he said.
Investigators said they discovered an array of strange chemicals, including a highly toxic DNA mutagen. A bomb technician said the other three chemicals they found were ”precursors to explosives,” a special agent later testified.
The search also produced what prosecutors called a “kidnapping kit”: a black duffel bag with two sets of handcuffs, a knife, an extendable police baton, pepper spray, and a handgun (that turned out to be a pellet gun).
Investigators also seized illegal narcotics. Two glass bottles containing a clear liquid tested positive for GHB. Three vials filled with about 50 tablets tested positive for MDMA, which is known as ecstasy or molly.
Lucas had been released from federal prison on July 19, 2019 and was still on probation when he was arrested again on July 28, 2020.
In the first case, Lucas spent a decade behind bars for trying to pull off an elaborate kidnapping in August 2009. The case involved “World of Warcraft,” a teen gamer, stolen virtual gold, requests for nude photos, and a 20-hour drive from Massachusetts to Wisconsin. Lucas had plotted the crime for a year and a half, according to court documents.
Lucas knocked on the boy’s door in Madison dressed like a law enforcement officer. He identified himself as an agent from the nonexistent “National Security Recruiting Department” and demanded to see the boy.
Noticing Lucas’s untied shoelaces, the boy’s mother refused. Lucas pointed a gun at her face. She slammed the door and called police. Lucas drove straight back to Massachusetts. He was arrested two days later.
That’s when detectives discovered that Lucas had installed a plastic lining in the trunk of his car, removed the release latch from inside, and filled it with weapons and restraints. They also found a cache of weapons in a cave in the woods near his parents’ home in Gloucester.
“Growing up for him was not easy,” Louis Lucas wrote in a Nov. 17, 2020 letter to US District Judge Denise Casper. Trevor Lucas was friendless and misunderstood. His peers taunted him and dared him to do inappropriate things. Neighbors harangued him with cruel names. He was an only child and had lived most of his life with his parents.
When Lucas was 11 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, and later, bipolar disorder, according to court filings. His disabilities ruled his youth, his parents told the judge in 2009. Sometimes, their son would be rigid and inflexible; other times impulsiveness, obsessions, and lack of control took over.
“I believe he needs treatment more than prison,” Lucas’s mother, Dorothy Lucas, told the judge a decade ago.
Lucas spent his entire 20s imprisoned. He took his prescribed medications, underwent therapy, and earned a bachelor of science degree during that time. When he was released, his parents set him up with the apartment in the North End.
A month after the tipster called Crime Stoppers, an undercover agent was introduced to Trevor Lucas. Lucas gave him a wish list and paid him for a fake New Hampshire driver’s license.
Lucas wanted three handguns — a Glock, a .9-mm Beretta, and a .357 Magnum — ammunition, a stun gun, fake money orders, and a lethal dose of cyanide.
Lucas’s penchant for disturbing and terrifying behavior, drugs and deceit, made him dangerous and impossible to control, federal prosecutor Adam Deitch said at Lucas’s detention hearing last August.
“The defendant is a danger to virtually anyone he comes into contact with,” Deitch said. “He’s told at least two people, two people that we know about, that he wants to procure chemicals to kill someone.”
The government’s case was high on sensationalism and low on evidence, argued Lucas’s defense lawyer, Jamie Sultan. (He declined to comment for this article.)
“What we have here, your Honor, is the government basically throwing out a lot of incendiary rhetoric about Mr. Lucas, none of which really relates to anything that’s actually happened,” Sultan said.
Lucas bought a phony driver’s license from the undercover agent, Sultan said, and nothing more.
Despite twice being told by the undercover agent that the handguns that Lucas wanted were ready for delivery, Lucas never followed through, Sultan added.
The notion of a “kidnapping kit” was bogus, Sultan argued. There was no evidence of a kidnapping and none of the items were illegal, he said.
As for the alleged explosives, none were controlled substances and all could easily be bought on Amazon, Sultan said.
“None of these items are explosive,” Trevor Lucas interjected during the videoconference detention hearing. “Even when all combined, none of them are.”
The GHB and MDMA were for personal use. It was tough adjusting to life out of prison. The GHB helped him sleep and the MDMA made him “feel good,” Lucas wrote in a letter to Judge Casper prior to his Nov. 23, 2020 sentencing.
Lucas revealed that he believed he had always been gay, but he had kept that part of himself hidden and suppressed.
Once out of prison, he met “someone special” and it blossomed into Lucas’s first-ever romantic relationship, Lucas told the judge. The breakup devastated him. “I was feeling incredibly depressed, angry, and self-destructive,” he said.
Facing a maximum penalty of 60 months, Lucas confessed that he was “terrified of what’s going to happen.”
Two days later, on Nov. 19, he agreed to a plea bargain in US District Court. In exchange for a 45-month prison sentence, Lucas pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his supervised release. He remains in the custody of US marshals.