Editor’s note: Arrest logs used to compile the weekly Police Log were unavailable at press time.
Police search sex offender’s residence, person after tip
Police executed search warrants at the residence of a convicted sex offender last week as part of a child pornography investigation, according to Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist.
According to a statement from the chief, the warrants – issued for 12 Old Park Ave. as well as the person of 52-year-old Richard Gardner – were executed on the morning of Friday, Nov. 29, by the Cranston Police Special Victims Unit and members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
“These search warrants were obtained after members of the Cranston Police Department received information alleging child pornography was being stored at the location and in Richard Gardner’s possession and control,” the chief’s statement reads. “A cellular telephone, digital media storage device, and documents were seized and are currently being forensically analyzed with the assistance of the State Police ICAC.”
The statement continues: “Mr. Gardner has not been arrested or charged with a crime in relation to this investigation at this time and should be presumed innocent. The investigation remains active, and as such, no further information will be released.”
Gardner, who recently relocated to Cranston from a home in Providence’s Washington Park neighborhood, was previously convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the 1980s. He served lengthy prison sentences in connection with those crimes and was released in October 2018.
City officials confirmed earlier this month that Gardner had relocated to Cranston and registered his address change with the Cranston Police Department as required by law. His prior convictions predate laws requiring public notice of address changes, meaning he is an “unclassified” sex offender and police are barred by law from making public notice of his address.
Gardner’s time living in Providence led to protests from neighbors, as well as incidents of vandalism. Cranston community members have expressed concern online regarding his new residence.
Suspects sought in car theft
The public’s help is being sought to identify two suspects in the theft of a car from Garden City Center in October.
According to a statement from Cranston Police, the department’s Patrol Division received a report regarding the theft on Oct. 22. The victim told police that keys for the vehicle were taken from a locker at LA Fitness. Police say a credit card that had been left in the vehicle was later used at the Providence Place Mall.
Police have circulated images of two people described as “prime suspects” in the case on social media.
Anyone with information regarding the identity or whereabouts of either suspect is asked to contact Detective Robert Lindsay at 477-5142. Tips may also be submitted by calling the department’s main line, 942-2211, or visiting its website, cranstonpoliceri.com.
Church vandalized again
For the second time in less than two weeks, St. Paul Church in Edgewood has been struck by vandals.
On the afternoon of Nov. 30, Father Adam Young, the church’s pastor, wrote on Twitter that stained glass windows at the church had been struck and damaged by rocks.
“Our vandal returned despite the media coverage and damaged 3 more windows,” the tweet reads. “Pray for him and the parishioners of St. Paul’s.”
The first incident of vandalism, which also involved a window being damaged with rocks, was noticed on the morning of Nov. 21.
Cranston Police Maj. Todd Patalano said Tuesday that the department is working to identify the culprits responsible for the vandalism, although he declined to elaborate.
The department previously asked members of the community with information regarding the vandalism to contact the Detective Division by calling 942-2211 or visiting the department’s website.
— Daniel Kittredge