Jul. 25—NEWBURYPORT — A Salisbury police officer’s decision to post a video on Facebook of a man damaging vending machines at Black Bear Campground in May paid dividends Friday when a Newbury man was arraigned in Newburyport District Court on breaking and entering and vandalism charges.
Jesob Rockwell, 31, of Highfield Road was released on personal recognizance following his arraignment but ordered by Judge Peter Doyle to stay away from the campground and remain out of trouble with the law. He is due back in court Sept. 9 for a pretrial hearing.
Salisbury police Officer Juan Guillermo responded to the campground May 12 after the camp manager reported that someone seriously damaged two new vending machines filled with stuffed animals and balls in the recreation hall the previous night.
In addition to shattering glass in both machines, stuffed animals and balls were strewn across the hall. The machines were worth about $3,500 each.
Video footage showed a man in his late 20s or early 30s walk up to the camera and place a ball over it. Guillermo also found a billiard stick nearby that he believed was used to smash the machines, according to his report.
Thirteen days later, Guillermo asked Salisbury police Detective Brian Verney, who is in charge of the department’s social media accounts, to upload the video to the department’s Facebook page to see if anyone could identify the man placing a toy over the video camera.
The next day, Rockwell’s mother called police to say she believed it was her son in the video and assured Guillermo she would drive him to the police station to be interviewed.
During that interview, police said Rockwell admitted taking a walk at the campground about the time of the break-in but said he was too drunk to remember going into the recreation hall.
“I asked Jesob if he saw the video posted and if he identified himself as the person on the video. Jesob told me he is definitely the person on video,” Guillermo wrote in his report. “I told Jesob I appreciated his honesty and cooperation. I told him I will be pursuing charges against him.”
Rockwell also told Guillermo that he left his Newbury home days earlier and was staying with his mother, who lived close to the campground.
Feeling depressed over personal issues, Rockwell drank two pints of whisky before beginning his walk, according to Guillermo’s report.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.