Published January 30. 2014 3:00PM Updated January 30. 2014 11:49PM
Stonington — Police have charged a Lynn, Mass., man with stealing approximately $50,000 worth of Adidas hats with NBA and NFL logos from a Pawcatuck company.
Stalin Medina, 28, had been apprehended by East Providence, R.I., police who saw there had been a warrant issued for his arrest in December and took him to the Adult Correctional Institute in Warwick, Mass. That’s where Stonington police took custody of him on Tuesday and charged him with first-degree larceny. He was released on a promise to appear in New London Superior Court on Feb. 14.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of stealing the 1,803 hats, which sell for $24 and $28 each.
According to the warrant for Medina’s arrest, police began investigating the theft last May after Westerly police helped South Kingstown, R.I., police serve an arrest warrant at 87 Bowling Lane. During the arrest of the man, they found the hats still in their packaging and questioned the man and his girlfriend about the hats. They said a neighbor had given them the hats.
Police seized the hats and determined they had come from Fabrigraphics of Pawcatuck. When police contacted the owner of the company, he discovered the hats had been stolen from his warehouse. After taking an inventory of the hats, Stonington police returned them to Fabrigraphics.
Police then found that Medina, who goes by the street name of “Priezt,” or “P” for short, and his brother, Brian “Lazy” Fraticelli of Bradford, had both worked at Northeast Marine Liquidation, which is located in the same building as Fabrigraphics. The owner of Northeast Marine Liquidation told police the brothers suddenly quit about the time Westerly police seized the hats. The Fabrigraphics owner said he had not given Medina permission to go into his workspace or take any items.
Police interviewed Medina’s girlfriend, who said that when they were living at 81 Bowling Lane last May, she saw the hats and asked Medina where they had come from. He told her, “My boys had given them to me to sell.”
She described the hats as baseball caps with sports team logos on them with price tags still attached.
When police tried to call the girlfriend in October, and Medina answered the phone, Medina appeared shocked that police knew who he was and used an expletive before hanging up.
Police also interviewed the man who lived at the apartment where Westerly police seized the hats. He said the brothers asked him to store the hats overnight because Medina did not want his children to get into them. In exchange, the man could keep 100 of the hats.
The brothers said they planned to pick up the hats the next day and bring them to Lynn, Mass., to sell. When the man asked the brothers if the hats were stolen, they said they were not.
The brothers never got the chance to pick up the hats because the next day, Westerly police came to the man’s house to arrest him and found the hats.
Fraticelli was arrested on Jan. 6 and also charged with first-degree larceny. He was released on a promise to appear in New London Superior Court on March 25.