Robbery suspects, Carlos Venable (left) and Richard Puopolo on Hanover St. Freedom Trail (BPD image from street camera)

Boston Police apprehended two suspects on Monday and charged them with this weekend’s string of store robberies in the North End / Waterfront and Downtown Boston area.

Richard Puopolo, 27, of the North End, turned himself in at about 8:33 p.m. from his home at Cleveland Place. He was charged with unarmed robbery, armed robbery, and possession of Class E Drugs.

Carlos Venable, 43, homeless, was arrested at 10:32 p.m. when officers on patrol in Chinatown recognized him as a suspect in the robberies.

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On Sunday, police released photos of the two men suspected of a brazen series of six robberies within a 24 hour period centered around the North End / Waterfront area. (See Boston Police Issue “Wanted” Photos and Alert After String of North End / Waterfront Store Robberies)

Stores and locations robbed on Saturday and Sunday, December 21st and 22nd included:

  • 4:01 pm Sat., 38 Cooper Street (Venice Convenience Store)
  • 7:31 pm Sat., 70 East India Row (7-Eleven)
  • 7:58 pm Sat., 170 Salem Street (Salem Street Market)
  • 2:59 am Sun.,  103 State Street (7-Eleven)
  • 7:22 am, Sun., 2 Atlantic Avenue (Starbucks)
  • 2:57 pm, Sun., 149 Hanover Street (Adams Convenience)

The two men were arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Monday, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s office.

  • Carlos Venable is being held on $20,000 bail on armed robbery charge. His open bail on an earlier assault case was revoked.
  • Co-defendant, Richard Puopolo of the North End, had bail set at $1,000 bail.
Richard Puopolo (left) and Carlos Venable during robbery of Venice Convenience Store in the North End on Cooper St. (BPD image)

The following information was released on Monday afternoon, 12/23/13, from the Suffolk DA’s Office:

A North End man and his homeless co-defendant were arraigned today in connection with a pair of armed robberies yesterday, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

RICHARD PUOPOLO (D.O.B. 7/25/86) of the North End and CARLOS VENABLE (D.O.B. 1/5/70), who is homeless, were arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court. Puopolo was charged with armed robbery for one incident, unarmed robbery for another, and unlawful possession of a Class E substance, while Venable was charged with armed robbery for the second incident only.

Prosecutors recommended $5,000 cash bail for Puopolo and $2,500 for Venable; Judge Annette Forde imposed $1,000 for Puopolo and $20,000 for Venable, additionally revoking his open bail on an assault case in the same court.

The incidents in which the men are charged took place yesterday morning and afternoon. In the first, Puopolo and another man entered a coffee shop at 2 Atlantic Ave. at about 7:10 a.m. When a barista asked if she could help them, Puopolo allegedly told her he was robbing the store and demanded the money from the registers. The barista complied and Puopolo allegedly took the cash before handing two $5 bills back.

“I’m so sorry,” he allegedly said before fleeing with his associate. “This is for you guys.”

About eight hours later, Puopolo and Venable allegedly entered a convenience store at 149 Hanover St. Puopolo allegedly brandished a broken bottle and demanded the cash in the register. The cashier asked if he was kidding.

“This is no joke,” Puopolo allegedly said while Venable stood behind him and to his left. “This is a robbery. We are broke and we need the money.”

The clerk handed over the cash in the register and the assailants fled on foot.

At about 8:30 last night, after Boston Police released video surveillance images showing the two suspects, Puopolo called police to surrender. When detectives arrived at his home, he identified himself from the images after being informed of his Miranda rights. At the time of his arrest, he had a vial of Xylocaine, an anesthetic for which he had no prescription.

About two hours later, Boston Police on patrol in Chinatown spotted Venable and recognized him as resembling the surveillance images that police had also distributed internally. He agreed to be questioned at the District A-1 station. He allegedly identified himself from a surveillance image taken just before the convenience store robbery, but stated that he was just standing outside and didn’t take part in the robbery.

Puopolo was represented by attorney Edward Krippendorf and Venable by attorney Joseph Moore. They will both return to court on Jan. 22.

–30–

All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

(Ed: This post was updated to include the arraignment details and news release.)

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48 COMMENTS

  1. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/12/23/two-custody-hour-robbery-spree-downtown-north-end/qwbCCWwjF6OV2OtDP9SQPK/story.html

    Two men are facing robbery charges today after being arrested Sunday night in connection with a 24-hour robbery spree this weekend in Boston’s downtown and North End areas, police said.

    Richard Puopolo, 27 turned himself in at about 8:33 p.m. in the North End. He was charged with unarmed robbery, armed robbery, and possession of Class E Drugs.

    Carlos Venable, 43, was arrrested at about 10:32 p.m. in when officers on patrol in Chinatown recognized him as a suspect in the robberies.

  2. Jessica lets not portray “Ricky” as the victim here the victims are the the store owners & workers who were traumatized by this pair & Populo should have been taught a long time ago that you don’t —- where you eat.

    • I do not think Jessica is portraying “Ricky” as a victim. I think she and many other people who know him and his family hope he gets the help he needs to get off of drugs and become able to salvage the rest of his young life. You sound like the crime spree would have been fine with you if they had only gone to another neighborhood.

    • Ricky is a good kid who needs help with addiction …hes a young kid who needs help as do to many young people today.my aunt and uncle and our family have always been there and he was raised right he just got caught up in addiction and we all pray this will now help get him back to who he was and help him on the right track. Which is why he turned himself in he knew it was wrong and he was brave not to run.. i love you cousin Ricky i hope you overcome this

    • It doesn’t sound like he’s the brightest bulb. He’s robbing stores blocks from where he lives and he turned himself in while in possession of drugs.

      FYI, Class E drugs include: Codeine, Morphine and Opium

    • you must spend all day on Hanover St yourself if you know he was there every day. I just love the Christmas spirit demonstrated by you and Jon. NOT! Hope the skeletons in your closet don’t fall out in such a public way.

  3. Ricky is a bright young man. He is not “dumb”. I feel for his family during this holiday season. It’s not right what he did, but making fun of him is not helpful!

    • Msarzana, i agree he graduated boston latin school ppl only wish they can even qualify to get into that school, your right instead of ridicule maybe they should think twice, don’t forget theres a skeleton thru out every closet in america

  4. Good work on the part of the police. Targeting 6 stores wasn’t a random act. What about innocent customers, who happened into the store at the wrong time, perhaps with their children,Curious about the large bail difference. Seems like they were equal partners.

    • Just an educated guess here, but my bet would be that the bail difference might be due to the fact that the other individual involved had another pending charge for which he was already out on bail. Also, the article mentioned the second individual is homeless, and if that’s the case, higher bail might get set because he would be considered a flight risk having no ties to the community.

  5. First thing thank God NO ONE Was HURT or KILLED. Many times people working cashier are. Secondly, for us reading this the N.End kid seems dumb/laughable. What is behind this is probably addiction which can happen to anyone, rich poor, black white anyone. It is a sin. Addiction rips apart families, destroys lives etc. While many are joyous and celebrating Christmas, some are experiencing crisis, pain etc. I pray this guy can turn his life around. He is someones child, grandchild etc. It’s a sin someone who may have had bright future does this but there is a reason behind we don’t know. I don’t know him or his family but his story is like many who get destroyed by drugs, bad decisions, bad friends. Hopefully he can turn things around.

  6. I grew up with Ricky and know his family well. He’s not a bad guy at all. He just did something extremely stupid. And what made it even more stupid is the fact that he did it in his own neighborhood. I totally believe the section of the article that says he apologized before running out because he has a conscience and knows exactly what he was doing was wrong. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be punished but people shouldn’t be casting stones at him. He must’ve been really desperate to do something this dumb.

  7. wow. i should be shocked by the number of people practically giving this guy a pass on his crime spree, but i am not, because it further illustrates the double standard held by a lot of people in this neighborhood. these same people throwing the pity party for ricky are the same people who practically call for the national guard when a non-native north ender has a few people over on a roof deck at 9pm on a saturday night. also, this guy was not brave for turning himself in. his picture, which was clear as day, was all over the media. also, as for the guy turning himself in with the drugs, i am sure it is is a plan to demonstrate his drug problem so he goes to rehab instead of prison (he deserves both). i would love to know who regularly sells him his drugs? i have a feeling that same double standard held by a lot of people in this neighborhood would make yet another appearance.

    • No one is saying that Ricky is innocent, and by no means, do we condone what he did; yet we know he has an addiction, as many around here do. I want to know where the police are when deals are being made left and right on Hanover St. It is almost ridiculous. Why isn’t there more help for the kids buying from the junkies????
      Ricky’s act was one of desperation, wrong that it may be, yet, he needs help. We who live here do not give native north Enders a pass, but what is wrong with a little empathy for the family? Hey, who are we to cast stones, as Pope Francesco said.

      • MS, Ive been posting on this site for many months about the drug problem in the NE, dealers & users living in the neighborhood ,drug deals conducted in broad daylight but the truth of the matter is many “original” residents choose to ignore the problem & instead have a crusade to deal with the trash problem over & over again.All one has to do is read the police blotter & notice that the majority of the crimes petty larcenies from buildings ,cars B&Es & muggings robberies are all drug related & until people start to address it. Just like addiction you cant cure a problem until you admit that you have one.

        • FYI..the original residents have been talking to the police for DECADES about the drug issues. You are not the first to notice nor write about it. The problem is that the police do not really listen or give a damn about the small little dealers who go throught a revolving door in the legal system. They only appear to be interested in catching the big guys.

          • SMH, i was born & raised here so I know all about the code of silence where many people look the other way when illegal activities are being conducted.My point is when an incident involves”yuppies,students or newcomers” people want vengeance street justice & retribution but in this incident an addict brings a derelict into the neighborhood who most likely has an extensive criminal record which is the reason his bail is higher & they proceed to rob several stores & who knows what other crimes in the past but because he’s a North End kid everyone is now a pacifist.Mr Poupolos actions feed ino the stereotype that many people have of fellow Italians & North Enders that we have been trying to shed for years. I don’t know how to write in Italian but I think the word is disgrazia.

    • Nobody is giving a pity party for Ricky and it has nothing to do with a double standard and loud drunk students and 2o somethings on roof decks pissing on cops and other passers by. Ricky is basically a nice kid . He is not dumb but he did a series of really stupid things for reasons none of us know or understand. The people who have known him since he was a kid are shocked and concerned about this turn of events in his life and in his famiy’s. Instead of mocking him and being so nasty, consider how this is ripping a family apart especially at this time of year. Bah Humbug to you all.

      • It’s hard to believe that it’s Christmas Eve and there is so much trash talk about Ricky. He will get what is due him, hopefully solid rehab. End of story. Easy to trash talk about others, but really we all have skeletons! Not one is worthy to throw stones!

  8. first of all I would like to say for the grace of God go I…my daughter has been a drug addict for over 12 years.. I truly wish that she had and still wish that she gets caught shop lifting and doing any thing illegal so she have to face reality. My daughter was a bright beautiful young woman when she got hooked on drugs. she had a career in the cosmetology business, she was going places. one night she got in a car accident and was prescribed percosets and that was the ruination of her! she loved the way she felt on the percs, fro the percs she went to vicadin and then oxys..she couldn’t afford the oxys any more so she started shooting herion to get high and been on a long disastrous ride since. She has been in and out of rehab, been on methadone and suboxin . does well then messes up again. had the chip implanted and actually tried cutting it out of her arm because mentally she wanted to get high! she has robbed me and her family blind from money .. checks, charge cards and jewelry.. passed out in various places..she has broken my heart and people who love her hearts. Ricky has a disease unfortunately its a disease that’s not associated with cancer, heart , ect its associayed with scum bags.. after all its drugs.. do you think that Ricky wanted to do what he did/ he was desperate that how drug addicts are. was he wrong what he did yes he was he is seeking help! thank god no one was hurt ..like my daughter Ricky comes from a good family and its not my fault what my daughter has done and what path in life she has chosen.. Diane and Ricky I pray for you that Ricky gets help and uits not your fault.. for the grace of god go I and may people have a kind word for him instead of calling him names.

  9. Michelle you dont think the fact that the local newscasts & newspapers had surveillance cameras photos of Poupolo might have had something to do with his decision to turn himself in do you? I have zero tolerance for junkies & drugs because Ive seen what drugs did to this neighborhood starting in the sixties There is no defense or excuse for what this pair did to store owners & workers who have to put in long hours & work 7 days a week to try & eek out a living.Finally lets be honest if Puopolo was a kid from another neighborhood & an outsider many of the people supporting him would be calling for the lynch mob.

  10. Those of us who knew Ricky when he was very young, smart, and funny are heartbroken over this. A desperate act by a very mixed up kid. Everyone needs to calm down and stop the nasty comments!

    • “Kid” is usually used to describe a child or young adult. This is a 27 year old MAN committing armed robbery. I feel for his family as they likely had nothing to do with this (as an outsider to this situation I have no idea what his family situation is) but they are dealing with a lot of the pain. Dude made some terrible & dumb choices to get to this point but he has to be held responsible for his actions. Don’t let “addiction” be an excuse…he still made the choice to take the drugs that led to this point.

  11. Truth be told, a crime is a crime. Whether you know the person or not, whether said person is a junkie or was once a nice kid. Why is it everyone is trying to justify these actions of a an obvious drug crazed crime spree? If this was shown on the news and it happened in another neighborhood which people no one knew all of you would be cheering with glee that the perps were caught and wishing they got the stiffest penalties the law would allow.
    Is addiction a sad thing, of course it is however, it does not discriminate and can happen to anyone. At some point said junkies must be held accountable for their actions whether you know the person or not. I happen to have been to the Salem Street Market shortly after this happened and the clerk was exremely shaken up over this. That is one of the TRUE victims as are the other clerks, barristas and shop owners who are merely trying to earn a living.
    Who is anyone to attempt to give junkies a free pass. I am sure the prisions are full of sad story junkies that come from nice families. My heart does go out to any family that must contend with a junkie relative as they too are victims.
    My guess is this Ricky went home after his spree and his parents went ballistic on him after seeing his pictures posted everywhere and he decided to turn himself in.
    As far as the homeless accomplice, he may have had a longer record of past offenses to have had such a high bail and this Ricky is more than likely bailed out and home so stop it with the pity for Ricky nonsense of being locked up for Christmas. If he is so intelligent maybe he will see that that this arrest might just be his saving grace to save him from himself. I am not buying into he was coerced or influenced by his accomplice either as his actions,tipping the barristas after robbing the Starbucks indicate that he KNEW what he was doing.
    I too am a lifelong resident and remember the days when junkies were dealt with with street justice, usually beaten brutally. No one wanted any kind of drugs here in the North End Then came the 70s and junkies were shooting each other and the 80s and 90s brought with it an whole new saturation of drug dealers and junkies after certain people who safe guarded the neighborhood were no longer around.
    Even still there are men hanging out on Hanover St well into their 60s, buying and selling drugs. The newcomers here would not know but those of us who have been here all along certainly do.
    No longer is there any kind of “code of silence” here, it stopped in the late 80s early 90s, this is why there are so many junkies here because they have no problem turning each other in or providing information to LE which makes them untouchable.
    All this to say, to those of you who are attempting to justify these crimes because a “good intelligent kid” that you happen to know went on a drug crazed crime spree, how would you feel if your business was held up or your apartment robbed? Would you still be willing to minimize the severity of the crimes if you did not know who it was? These are all things to ponder before anyone jumps to defense.
    The whole thing is terribly sad but there so many sad stories behine those already locked up and convicted.

  12. my family and I have known ricky and his whole family for years. solid people from youngest to oldest. I understand he did wrong. as far as the comments about how stupid he was to rob in his own neighborhood, did anyone think he did it for a reason. he was crying for help. I’m not condoning what was done. i’m saying a smart, respectful, straight ricky would not have done this. this was a sick ricky crying for help. hopefully he gets it. to the family, keep your heads high!

    • The same could be said about anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Look at the drunk drivers that get in accidents and kill innocent people. I am sure if they were straight and sober they would be driving much more responsibly and they are probably nice people too. Where is the line drawn?…free passes and a get out of jail card because people happen to know said junkie from days gone by? Does that apply to all who commit crimes while in a drug crazed state of mind. Riddle me this, how about we just unlock and release all criminals that ended up incarcerated as a result of being under the influence. We can pat on the back and tell everybody that they are really good people, so a few months in rehab as an alternative even though they don’t want to go. It’s just that they were under the influence when they robbed somebody’s mother, sister or grandmother business ect. Afterall what is a couple of armed robberies if you happen to know the junkie prior to his/her crime spree, they were merely under the influence and since they are such good kinds they would never dream of breaking any laws if they didn’t decide to get high

  13. mc I am a life long resident of the NE. I too know the famiy of Ricky as I also know many families of junkies dating back to the 60s. I am sure that could be said about every junkie in jail. “Such a nice kid from such a good family” could very well be true, they were all nice innocent children at one time but they grew up and decided to make choices that brought with it consequences. As others have said had this been an “outsider” you all would be on a witch hunt or if they were victims of a crime. Let’s face it, even seriel killers were “nice innocent children” at one time. The prisons are full, the rehabs are too unless the person really wants off the evil drugs all a judge imposing “rehab” is doing in 99% of the time prolonging things becuase many have come out of rehab and gone right back to drugs and crime. I have known junkies who come out of jail and return to the same behaviors as they did prior to getting locked up.

    • Its good to see comments from “stand up people” that show we hold what I’ll call our own to a higher standard & as accountable for their actions as anyone else.

  14. Omg I would like to add the reality is the drug dealers around here are ratting out the drug addicts to the police so They could stay out of jail what happened to step programs money gets sent to step and it goes out of the neiborhood that place was so crouded with drug addicts and when it was run right and people that wanted help got it it is true family’s suffer that’s why there’s ALANON coda parent meetings but not in the north end that’s a disgrace as for all people with addiction they will get sober on their time sad but true just voiceimg on the other side of the coin not bashing anyone at all it’s sad and scary for all invoved

  15. i can see that the so called smart stand up people on this thread want to hang ricky instead of trying to get him help. DM, what if it was your family member, bet the attitude would be different. if you know the person can be helped, you would rather lock him in jail than help him get straight and back to reality. LIFE LONG RESIDENT, you knew so many junkies, as did i, being a lifelong resident also, how many of them wanted to get help, not too many that i knew. you people crack me up. all high and mighty.no pun intended. why weren’t the other post i wrote left up on here. did the truth hurt someone. i never said ricky didn’t do anything wrong. someone mentioned college kids don’t go on a crime spree. well thats because they have a trust fund to get the money from. is binge drinking and throwing bottles at cops ok in your eyes. and in reguards to out of towners doing what ricky did. i would feel the same way as far as trying to help them first. someone who is a lifelong drug addict, because i hate the word junkie, is a different story, they dont want help. whatch out, someday your past will catch up to you.

    • mc, when a person finds themselves in the throes of an addiction it didn’t happen overnight being a junkie is the worlds worst kept secret everyone around you knows.Redirect your anger to the people in this neighborhood who peddle this poison for profit & in the process destroy lives.If all you so called friends of this kid were true friends you are the people who should have gotten him help.He was found with a vial of oxlocaine on his person which on the streets is used to cut/dilute cocaine & heroin & menaced a store clerk with a broken bottle so if your looking for sympathy for him look elsewhere.

      • michaeld, trust me my anger is stronger than you know about the drug dealers in this neighborhood. as far as getting him help, who said no one is trying to help these kids/men. my first post had nothing to do with directing anger at anyone. my post was about ricky doing what he did as a cry for help. thats it. no one wants to give him a pass. he did wrong. he knows it. the courts will decide his punishment.

    • mc How do you know if I had junkies in my family? To answer your question Yes I have. One went through the best of the rehabs and treatment centers, ended up incarcerated and each time release with a week was doing the same exact thing. He went on methadone programs. All the while doing a number on his family and loved ones and ahyone that cared enough to help him. He would think nothing of robbing his family and friends and ended up on crime sprees too. We ALL were relieved when he would get locked up cause we could all sleep nights knowing he was safe and probably would not be geting a dreaded phone call, though in prision anything can happen. He knew how manipulate and tug on heartstrings. We felt bad so I cab certainly appreciate the senitments and dissapointment towards this local boy that people here know and are trying to give a free pass. NewsFlash: A free pass will do him no favors!! With my relative jail was like a revolving door, in for a couple of years out for 4 months and while out would make it appear he was doing well until you got your back statement. This last realease was his last rum as he was found dead with the shoelace still wrapped around him arm. So please, do not try and tell me I do not know what I am talking about. All too many times parents hire expensive lawyers that will let the kids get out with the lightest sentance the law will allow as this is what my aunt did. Had she used some tough love and looked at the reality if the situation he might still be walking the streets today. Oh an by the way, my cousin was also a nice, intelligent wonderful boy too at one time. Sadly once the line of a ddiction is crossed all that nice intelligence of the past becomes a distant memory as the addict is morphed in an out of control dangerous person. The law serves to protect innocent peole, why should innocent people have to suffer at the hands of junkies that dont even care about themselves. I would feel the same way if this was my own son.

  16. mc,I was there when this problem started first it was cough syrup,Bennie’s, black beauties,,Christmas trees. red devils it than morphed to a product that I wont name but it was used to relived infant teething .The junkies than graduated to smack. I was caught in the middle between the crew that was dishing out vicious beatings to the junkies & dealers. & the kids who were taking the drugs.Many of the junkies were friends of mine & good kids but I soon realized due to their addictions they were not the same people I though I knew.They started selling things even selling meat that they stole out of their mothers freezers, they started breaking in cars to steal 8 tracks as the addiction grew so did the crimes. They started b&eing peoples houses some came away with just a beating , a few paid the ultimate price one being found next to the Paul Revere statue in the parado with 6 bullets in his head. Some of them even were brazen enough to start holding up card games. It would take me at least 15 minutes to list the kids I knew who overdosed & died & others who were killed in drug related incidents. Even Floppy who waged a war against the drug dealers almost lost his life being shot in the face & temple in front of the Florentine by a junkie punk & that was in 1975.Drugs were the North Ends dirty little secret then & now.

    • I was probably 7 yars old when junkies would go in one of the varios pharmacies to buy paragoric . I remember my mamma talking to the pharmacist in Italian about what the junkies were doing with it. Things were much different back in those days where people truly rallied together to keep the North End as safe a place as possible. There were men on every corner just about around the clock watching that people could safely walk the street. These very same men were there when a man was going around exposing himself and the fire bug. They didnt even want people smoking grass here or bringing anykind of drugs here and I must say they did a wonderful job and probably saved many lives to. Once a junkie caught a beaten they either moved taking their business elsewhere or stopped using. I was like that until the early 70s. Then junkies began their own process of elimination shooting each other. Even at that point in the 70s the drug problem was not nearly as bad as it got in the early/mid 80s on when those keeping watch were no longer present. At that point Hanover st and the Prado became hot spots and the junkies and dealers were a constant.
      Whith gentrification things seemed to somewhat slow down you would think but the truth is many of these junkies are dead or ended up going to prision A good many of these men are out now and still about on Hanover St dealing and using drugs, most of which are selling drugs in order to support their own habits so you wont see them driving any kind of flashy cars or wearing tons of jewelry llike you see in the movies. Nonethe less they are very much there. As I said in a prior post this new era of junkies both old and new will tell on each other and give LE information so they get a free pass. I learned this from a mother of a junkie who’s son was one of the junkies that was told on and subsequently went to jail, came out and has been doing well for the last few years. The reality is what are the cops going to do with a 65 year old man who is more than willing to tell? Since all this happened I am just learning of the new breed of junkies, early 20s up. We old timer native North Enders must realize that the North End as much as we love it and call it home will never be the same. I wish more than anything I could turn the clock back and make it like the old safe place it once was where no one had to worry about their car, apartment, business or wallet being stolen because that would have never happened here. Noe Christmas trees are being robbed from outside of business. Makes me sick to be honest. Sadly, I do not see things getting any better as this new generation of self gratification and self entitlement continues on. We can only hope and pray and hold fast to the days when the North End was truly like a family I guess compared to other places the North End is much better but not without things like this.

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