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In Tactical Mode....
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008
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WARE - Although he is retired law enforcement officer, Gerald L. Matta, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, still has the keen eye of a street cop.

Matta, 67, served more than 19 years with the Brockton Police Department. He is listed as the telephone complainant to Ware police in a case that netted three arrests July 31 at the Gibbs Crossing shopping plaza on Route 32.

Amadou O. Camara, 20, of Corona, N.Y., Bate Jalloh, 17, of New York City, and Papa Amary Wade, 29, of Montreal, each was charged with credit card fraud over $250, receiving stolen property under $250, and larceny of a building, Ware Police Chief Dennis M. Healey said.

The charges stem from the trio attempting the fraudulent use of a credit card to purchase merchandise, he said. The arrests were made outside the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Healey said that Matta telephoned police about suspicious activity at about 7:45 p.m., which put in motion the investigation that led to the arrests.

Documents in the clerk's office in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown said that Camara and Jallou each was released on $2,500 personal surety Monday. Wade, who is a native of Senegal, is being held on a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service detainer until Thursday, the documents said.

All three men are scheduled to return to the court on Sept. 9 for pre-trial proceedings, the clerk's office said.

Matta, who was Brockton's "Policeman of the Year" in 1972, said Tuesday that he was driving on Route 32 when he stopped at the traffic signals at the shopping center's entrance. He said his curiosity was stirred when he noticed a parked, older-model Lincoln Continental with New York license plates with its parking lights on, although it was not yet dark outside.

The car was in the lot of an auto parts store across from the shopping plaza's entrance, Matta said. Although the shopping center has a mammoth parking lot, a man got out of the Lincoln and walked toward Wal-Mart, he said.

Another man stayed behind in the Lincoln, he said. Matta said his suspicions rose when he went into the auto parts store and asked the clerk if anyone in the Lincoln had come into the store. The clerk said no.

Matta said he then drove toward the Wal-Mart and called police, whom he commended for a quick response and the investigation that led to the arrests. He said he will help further, if called as a case witness.

"I was just doing what I should do, my civic duty," he said.
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