PROVIDENCE — A 24-year-old Providence man appeared in court Monday to face charges in connection with the theft of a Boston police officer’s gun from a car parked at a hotel in Pawtucket, R.I.
Kyle Benford was held on $20,000 surety bail at his arraignment on charges of larceny of a firearm and conspiracy to commit larceny. No plea was entered. He is slated to return to Sixth District Court in Providence on May 20.
Benford was arrested Saturday night, a week after two women, Neish Rivera, 25, of Pawtucket, and Melissa Dacier, 22, of Providence, were also arrested and charged with stealing the gun, a Glock 22, authorities said.
Police say Rivera and Dacier identified Benford as the person who stole the officer’s gun, a court official said during the brief hearing.
Benford’s cousin, Jason Doggett, said afterward that the charges were “bull [expletive].”
“They arraigned the man based on what a prostitute is telling you,” Doggett said, adding that his cousin was “with his wife” at the time of the incident.
A woman who identified herself as Benford’s sister said only, “They’re trying to frame him.” She declined to provide her name.
Benford was also held as a probation violator stemming from a prior drug case, records show.
Rivera was one of three exotic dancers arrested for prostitution at the Foxy Lady strip club in Providence in December, according to a police report.
A Pawtucket police report filed in the case identified the Boston officer whose gun was stolen as Emanuel Brandao.
“Emanuel stated that he had his department-issued firearm (glock 22 .40 caliber bearing serial number VYP152) on his person” and secured the gun in the glove box of his vehicle, the report said.
After the gun was stolen and later recovered, the report said, police interviewed Dacier and Rivera, who both “positively identified Kyle Benford as the person who stole the firearm from the vehicle.”
Rivera and Dacier accompanied Brandao to a strip club and bar on the weekend of Feb. 2. The three returned to the officer’s room at a Hampton Inn in Pawtucket, where they “hung out,” for a few hours, according to a Pawtucket police report.
The officer gave the keys to his car to Rivera, who told him she needed a cell phone charger. She returned to the room, but later left, saying she was going to look for Dacier, who had left the hotel room to make a phone call, the report said.
The Boston officer eventually went to look for Rivera. He went to his car, where he discovered the gun missing from his glove box. He reported the gun stolen to Pawtucket police around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.
A Providence police report detailed the recovery of the gun. It said officers in that city learned around 5:10 p.m. on Feb. 2 that a Boston officer’s stolen gun was “possibly hidden in a Wal-Mart plastic bag” at a fire station at 489 Hartford Ave. in Providence.
Providence police were also told that Rivera was traveling by Uber to that location “to possibly retrieve the firearm,” the report said.
Police discovered the gun “protruding from the mail slot” of the front door of the station, according to the report, which said the gun was unloaded.
“Moments later, Police observed Rivera walking towards the fire station where she was apprehended without incident,” the report said. “Rivera and the firearm were turned over to Pawtucket PD on scene.”
The Boston officer was placed on paid leave, pending an internal affairs investigation, the department said last week. Boston Police Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesman, declined to name the officer Monday.
Kenneth Anderson, the attorney for the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, declined comment about Brandao’s case.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.