PEMBROKE — Matthew Will, 38, owner of 5-Star Discount Roofing in Halifax, was arrested at his rental home on Furnace Colony Drive, Pembroke, at about 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 9 after a dramatic chase and a tense standoff with police.
Will allegedly fled after he missed a Falmouth District Court arraignment, then was arrested May 4 in Rockland — after escaping from police and leading them on a multi-town high-speed chase from Worcester County into Rhode Island the night before.
He was then released by a Hingham District Court judge, John Stapleton, who had not been made aware of the chase by court personnel, according to audio of the hearing, fled again and was finally re-arrested Thursday, May 9, after a tense standoff with police in Pembroke.
Will was expected to appear Monday, May 13, at 9 a.m. in Wareham District Court, with transportation provided by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s department, who have also provided his lodging since his Thursday arrest.
But he was not transported Monday to Wareham District Court by the department as ordered by a Plymouth judge Friday, and a Wareham court officer who said he had knowledge of the situation indicated Will had refused to come out of his cell at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, had sustained an injury there and was being treated at a Boston hospital.
A Plymouth County Sheriff’s department spokesperson, Karen Barry, said that Will had not sustained any injury at the jail, but said he was in their custody. She would not confirm if he was being treated for an injury sustained outside of the jail and would not confirm his next court appearance, citing CORI protections for prisoners.
Neighbors watched Thursday afternoon in the quiet neighborhood overlooking Furnace Pond as Hanson, Pembroke, and Middleboro police, as well as Plymouth County Sherriff’s Department and police canines executed an arrest and search warrant on Will and his house. When police searched the house for Will, he attempted to avoid arrest by hiding in his attic, according to police at the scene.
Will’s girlfriend, Tina Bowles, and several of their young children, identified by neighbors, could be seen standing in their side yard during the more than two-hourlong standoff. Police said they did not believe that Will was dangerous, although many law enforcement personnel were seen in bullet-proof vests waiting outside the home for Will to respond.
The father of five could be heard screaming obscenities at law enforcement officers as police dogs with cameras on their backs were sent into the attic to capture him. A police officer described a chaotic scene inside the house just after Will’s arrest and said that Will was bitten by the dogs and had fallen through his attic ceiling into his living room.
He was led in handcuffs from his home into a waiting Pembroke Fire Department ambulance and taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, where he was treated overnight for his dog bite-related injuries. He was discharged the next morning, into the custody of the sheriff’s department.
John Canavan, a Plymouth District Court judge, Friday, May 10, ordered Will held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility over the weekend and that he be transported to Wareham District Court to address his warrants in that court. The department did not transport him for reasons the Express cannot confirm.
The roofer was wanted on warrants in connection with a series of alleged larceny- and fraud-related crimes across Plymouth county and beyond, with at least 50 households allegedly victimized in Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Falmouth, Hanson, Kingston, Middleboro, North Easton, Pembroke, Plympton, Rockland and Wareham.
Funds allegedly collected for work not done total more than $200,000, say court records. The vast majority of the alleged victims are elderly and live in Middleboro, concentrated at Oak Point, a 55-plus community Will allegedly targeted.
The investigation began with Middleboro Detective Simone Ryder and multiple agencies are now investigating Will, including Hanson police.
Will skipped a Falmouth District Court arraignment April 10, on charges that he allegedly took more than $55,000 from the owner of a Falmouth apartment complex, according to the reported victim, Joel Mazmanian, who resides in California but manages property in Massachusetts. The court issued a bench warrant for Will’s arrest. He next did not appear for a hearing in Wareham District Court on ongoing cases, prompting that court to issue arrest warrants, as well.
Will fled the county, court documents say, and was next spotted by police May 3 in Hopkinton, in Middlesex County, where a Hopedale police report says he was stopped by police. He was ordered out of his vehicle, according to the report, but fled from the scene.
Police did not give chase because there were children in the vehicle, Hopkinton Deputy Police Chief Joseph Bennett said to the Express.
Later that day, in Hopedale, in Worcester County, Will failed to stop at a stop sign, twice. A Hopedale Police Department report describes a multi-agency car chase that ensued involving the Bellingham, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, police.
The report was written by Hopedale Police Sergeant Mark Rizoli.
After being followed by Rizoli for about a quarter of a mile, Will, driving his mother’s 2006 Buick Lucerne, stopped in the middle of the road. The officer said he observed what appeared to be a female passenger and two rear seat passengers.
Police later discovered Will had three of the five children Will shares with Tina Bowles with him. The sergeant on the scene said they began making “furtive movements,” which prompted Sgt. Rizoli to attempt to stop the car, he said.
Next, “ … he accelerated to a speed I estimated to be 70-80 mph. Due to the fact it was dark, wet, and that Blackstone Street is [a] narrow and curvy road I decided to maintain a speed of approximately 40-45 mph, as I felt it unsafe to travel at a higher speed. I subsequently lost sight of the vehicle … ”
Blackstone Police were able to locate Will, but he was able to escape them, as well, and his vehicle was observed fleeing into Rhode Island. Woonsocket, Rhode Island, police gave chase, but Bowles later told police Will ran up a long driveway on foot. Bowles was stopped by police driving Will’s mother’s car with their children in Bellingham later that night, police reports say.
Early the next morning, Saturday, May 4, Will was arrested at a residence in Rockland by the Rockland Police department. Will traveled from Rhode Island to Rockland via a ride sharing service, said a source close to the investigation and Bowles was present at the Rockland arrest, according to court documents.
He was held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Plymouth over the weekend, and was transported to Hingham District Court Monday, May 6, by the sheriff’s department.
Although there were no open cases for Will in that court, as he was arrested on open warrants in Rockland, and Rockland is in Hingham District Court’s jurisdiction, Will was transported to that court, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
Will’s case was called at 10:34 a.m., in Courtroom 1, before Stapleton, according to audio of the hearing requested by the Express. Neither a police prosecutor for Rockland, nor any commonwealth attorney can be heard addressing the judge.
Only Will’s court-appointed attorney, whose name is indecipherable in the recording, speaks to the judge, and he does not address the high-speed chase with Stapleton, only the outstanding warrants in Wareham and Falmouth.
Stapleton freed Will after two minutes, only checking to make sure that he had a ride to Wareham to clear up his warrants in that court at 2 p.m. Bowles, who the defense attorney tells the judge is Will’s wife, says she has her keys and a license in the recording, which the judge asks a court officer to check.
Will left Hingham District Court free, did not attend his 2 p.m. hearing in Wareham District Court, and warrants for his arrest were reactivated. He spent the next three days a fugitive from justice until he was arrested in Pembroke.
Why Will is where and when he’ll be back to court has yet to be independently confirmed by the Express.
Contact Abram Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @nealabe