Police identify theft suspect from surveillance picture tips

Edgartown Police identified a man wanted for theft and credit card fraud, after several Island residents recognized the suspect in surveillance pictures published in The Times January 19 (“Martha’s Vineyard police investigate rash of property thefts”).

Edgartown District Court issued an arrest warrant for William Lasker, 28, formerly of Chilmark. Mr. Lasker grew up on the Island and attended Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, but now lives off-Island.

According to Edgartown police detective Chris Dolby, two car break-ins in Edgartown on separate days coincided with Mr. Lasker’s appearance in Edgartown District Court on other charges.

Detective Dolby said Mr. Lasker and other suspects ran up about $5,000 in charges with credit cards stolen from a vehicle on December 21. Police traced the credit card charges to stores in Vineyard Haven and several in the Boston area.

Detective Dolby provided some video surveillance pictures to The Times (available at mvtimes.com) of a group of suspects who used the credit cards in a Target store in Everett. Four people, including Chilmark police Chief Brian Cioffi, called police to identify the suspect from the surveillance pictures.

Detective Dolby said surveillance pictures published to a wide audience are a valuable tool for police.

“It was pretty evident, the people who saw him, the clothing, the circumstances,” Detective Dolby said. “Even in the grainy video, if it’s a person you’re familiar with, it jumps out at you.”

“On behalf of the Edgartown Police Department, I would like to thank the Martha’s Vineyard Times for their continued support and assistance in helping solve these crimes,” Edgartown police chief Tony Bettencourt wrote in an email to The Times. “You have been kind enough to publish videos online as well as surveillance photos without hesitation. Because of this support, our department has been able to identify suspects and bring the cases to a conclusion.”

Detective Dolby intended to arrest Mr. Lasker on January 31, when he was scheduled to appear in Edgartown District Court on separate charges. He said Mr. Lasker did not appear for the hearing, but notified the court he was undergoing treatment in a voluntary medical detoxification facility. The court continued the hearing.

“He knows he has some things to deal with when he gets back to the Island,” Detective Dolby said.