Published in the June 29, 2017 edition

NORTH READING – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and North Reading Chief of Police Michael Murphy have announced that Michael S. Tranchita, 37, of Winchester, was found guilty of breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony, larceny over $250 and possession of burglarious tools by a Middlesex Superior Court Jury on Thursday, June 14, 2017.

Judge Bruce Henry sentenced the defendant to 4-5 years in state prison with three years of probation to follow. Judge Henry also ordered the defendant to pay restitution of $500 per month for the three years of probation and ordered him to stay away from the victim, his family and the victim’s home and business.

“This conviction was secured as a result of a lengthy investigation involving the collection and analysis of a substantial amount of evidence,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The investigators from the North Reading Police Department, my office and several other law enforcement agencies worked collaboratively and diligently to bring this complicated case to a conclusion.”

On July 19, 2009, North Reading Police responded to a reported breaking and entering at a Central Street home. Upon arrival police discovered that a large gun safe which contained 12 firearms, including long-arms, semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, jewelry, cash, silver bars and other valuables had been removed from the second floor bedroom. The total value of the items stolen from the 1,000 pound safe was estimated to be approximately $100,000.

During the course of the investigation police discovered that Tranchita had entered the victim’s property through a temporary fence surrounding the victim’s in-ground swimming pool. Tranchita then entered the victim’s shed and removed an axe and claw-hammer which he subsequently used to break into the victim’s home. Upon entering the home Tranchita did significant damage to the residence including destroying a temporary wall and causing damage to the structure of the home during the movement of the safe.

Tranchita was known to the victim and based on their relationship had knowledge of the valuables contained in the safe. The investigation further revealed that Tranchita had made contact with the victim’s family over social media to ensure the victim and his family would be out of the home on the weekend of the break-in.

Additionally, investigators collected a large amount of physical and photographic evidence including a 14 karat white gold bracelet similar to one seen being worn by Tranchita, paint chips, sheet rock samples and impressions of tire marks left in the victim’s garage that were used to place Tranchita in the vicinity of the residence. Police also examined cell phone records and collected evidence at Tranchita’s workplace that matched evidence found in the victim’s home.

During the course of the investigation North Reading Police also allocated additional resources dedicated to recovering the stolen firearms including conducting surveillance operations and executing exhaustive search efforts. Ultimately, five of the victim’s stolen firearms and contents of the safe were later located on the Boston waterfront after it washed onto the shoreline.

Tranchita was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on December 9, 2015.

This case was investigated by North Reading police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in collaboration with Massachusetts State Police, Winthrop Police, Boston Police, Swampscott Police and other assisting agencies.

The prosecutor assigned to this case was Assistant District Attorney Kevin Ryle. The Victim Witness Advocate was Kristin D’Agnelli.