Cops tipped off after releasing video of Poconos home invasion. They’ve now arrested 5.
Police in Monroe County have charged four men in a home invasion last fall that involved kicking in a door as the victim was watching TV late at night.
The four are also suspected in seven additional burglaries or burglary attempts the same night in the surrounding community called A Pocono Country Place, according to the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department.
The community is in Coolbaugh Township, beside Tobyhanna State Park.
A girlfriend of one of the suspects also faces charges for allegedly lying to police as investigators closed in on the four.
The victim called police about 11 the night of Oct. 13, 2018, to report a burglary in progress at his home in the 8900 block of Deerfield Drive in A Pocono Country Place.
"The victim advised that he lives at the house alone and was sitting on the couch in the living room watching television when he heard someone knock on his front door," Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Chris Wagner said in a news release Tuesday. "The victim advised that one minute after the knocking, the door suddenly opened with a loud bang. He then saw several males look inside at him and run away."
A home security camera showed two males approach the front of the house and look around, as two additional males came into view.
“One of the males carried a large flashlight, another male had what appeared to be a bag, a third male looked around and a fourth male carried what appeared to be a shotgun,” Wagner wrote.
As police wrapped up their initial investigation, the department began receiving additional calls about forcible break-ins in the surrounding streets of A Pocono Country Place.
Charges are pending in those other break-ins reported in the 7000 block of Vista Drive, 7100 block of Mountain Drive, 600 and 700 blocks of Country Place Drive, 8200 block of Natures Drive and 8500 block of Bumblebee Way, according to police.
Pocono Mountain Regional police released surveillance video from the victim's security camera, leading to numerous tips identifying the perpetrators, according to the release.
Through initial tips and further investigation, police identified the four suspects as:
Barrington Perry, 19, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
Christopher Babbino, 20, of Tobyhanna.
Robert Roe-Laverty, 24, of Tobyhanna.
Michael Benson, 21, of Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.
From left, Barrington Perry, 19; Christopher Babbino, 20; and Robert Roe-Laverty, 24, all of Tobyhanna; and Michael Benson, 21, of Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. Courtesy photos
Roe-Laverty at the time was wanted on a Monroe County bench warrant, and Pocono Mountain Regional police through a separate investigation obtained an arrest warrant for Perry for allegedly possessing a stolen vehicle located at his home, according to the news release.
Police on Oct. 18 were canvassing the area of the reported burglaries and took into custody Roe-Laverty and Babbino as they hid, trying to avoid capture, in a home on nearby Chipmunk Drive, according to the release. They were caught with two handguns and stolen property and taken to the Monroe County Prison, police said.
Those arrests led to charges against Babbino’s girlfriend, 36-year-old Jessica Echevarria, of Tobyhanna, for allegedly giving police false information in an attempt to shield Babbino from charges in the burglary, according to the release.
"Further investigation and evidence collected formally identified Roe-Laverty, Babbino, Perry and Benson as the actors captured in the video on 10/13/2018," the police chief wrote in the release. "As a result of the ongoing investigation, investigators identified that the shotgun possessed by Benson in the video belonged to Roe-Laverty and was stolen."
Echevarria on Thursday denied the allegations against her, and said she’s been cooperating with police in their investigation.
She said she has lost her Section 8 federal housing voucher because of the charges and fears she may lose custody of her children.
“I don’t want to because I know I’m innocent,” she said Thursday. “I’ve never broken the law a day in my life.”
Perry, Babbino, Roe-Laverty and Benson were all charged in the Deerfield Drive break-in with burglary, conspiracy, possessing an instrument of crime and prowling or loitering at night. Benson and and Roe-Laverty were also charged with illegal possession of a firearm.
Babbino and Roe-Laverty face charges of conspiracy, receiving stolen property, hindering apprehension or prosecution, possessing an instrument of crime and tampering with evidence in their arrests on Chipmunk Drive. Roe-Laverty is charged in that incident with illegal possession of a firearm, as well.
Perry also faces charges of receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and possession of drug paraphernalia for an incident Oct. 11 in the 8400 block of Bear Trail in the same development.
In the Deerfield Drive break-in:
Roe-Laverty and Perry were sent to the Monroe County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail, each with a preliminary hearing scheduled Feb. 13. Court records did not list attorneys for them.
Babbino was sent to Monroe County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail and faces formal arraignment scheduled March 20 in county court. His attorney, Mark Hinrichs, declined to comment Wednesday.
Benson was released on $50,000 unsecured bail and faces a preliminary hearing also scheduled Feb. 13. He could not be reached for comment because no phone number could be found for him.
Echevarria was released on $15,000 unsecured bail and faces formal arraignment scheduled Feb. 20 in Monroe County Court on three counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution. A call for comment to her attorney was not immediately returned.
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version to include comment from one of the people charged. --73.215.xxx.xx