Oak Bluffs men charged in knifepoint robbery of drugs, cash

Brian D. Gromoshak (left) and Demetrio Garcia III, during separate court appearances in 2009. — File photo by Steve Myrick

Edgartown police arrested Brian D. Gromoshak and Demetrio Garcia 3rd last week for the knifepoint robbery of three pounds of marijuana and $7,000 cash from an Edgartown home. Both men have previous Island criminal records.

Police said the men forced their way into the house off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Mr. Gromoshak used a knife to threaten the residents.

“During the commission of the crime, one of the perpetrators reportedly held a knife to the throat of the victim and threatened to kill him and his family if he told anybody,” Detective Sgt. Chris Dolby wrote in a news release.

Det. Sgt. Dolby, citing the ongoing investigation and the nature of the threats, declined to identify the robbery victim.

At 9 pm, Wednesday, October 19, Edgartown Police, Oak Bluffs Police, the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force, and the Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team executed a search warrant at 24 Shawmut Avenue in Oak Bluffs, the known address of Mr. Gromoshak and Mr. Garcia.

Police arrested Mr. Gromoshak, 31, and seized approximately one pound of marijuana, six marijuana plants in various stages of growth, other implements of marijuana distribution, and $5,000 in cash.

According to the police report, Mr. Gromoshak admitted to the theft of the marijuana and the money.

On Friday, October 21, police returned to 24 Shawmut Avenue and arrested Mr. Garcia, who is 19. Police said Mr. Garcia was Mr. Gromoshak’s accomplice in the robbery.

Mr. Gromoshak was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on October 20, charged with armed robbery, breaking and entering during daytime to commit a felony, placing a person in fear, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, larceny from a building, and larceny over $250.

The court set bail at $35,000. Mr. Gromoshak remains in custody at the Dukes County Jail.

Mr. Garcia was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on October 24, on charges of breaking and entering during daytime to commit a felony, placing a person in fear, larceny from a building, larceny over $250, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and armed robbery. The court set bail for Mr. Garcia at $10,000. He remains in custody.

“This is a violent crime,” Det. Sgt. Dolby said in a phone interview. “This type of crime just won’t be taken lightly in this community, regardless of the circumstances or the people involved.”

Det. Sgt. Dolby said police are investigating new leads since the arrest and asked anyone with information to call or text the police department anonymous tip line at 774-310-1190.

Criminal records

Mr. Gromoshak is well-known to several Island police departments and has a criminal record on Martha’s Vineyard and in Florida, where he previously lived. In April, 2009, Mr. Gromoshak pleaded guilty to breaking and entering, in connection with a series of burglaries at Edgartown houses. According to the police report in that case, he was arrested after investigators matched bootprints found outside houses that were burglarized shortly after a snowfall to boots Mr. Gromoshak owned. While executing a search warrant in that case, police found several stolen items in Mr. Gromoshak’s Oak Bluffs house. He served one year of a two-year sentence in the Dukes County House of Correction following that plea agreement and was still on probation for those crimes.

Mr. Garcia is also well-known to police. In October 2009, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in the Dukes County House of Correction, after pleading guilty to assault and armed robbery. Mr. Garcia admitted in court that he and a juvenile accomplice robbed an Island taxi driver at knifepoint, after directing him to drive to a remote street in Oak Bluffs.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, he served 1.5 years. The balance of his sentence was suspended for three years of strictly supervised probation, and 60 hours of community service.

William J. Bernard owns the Shawmut Avenue home where the two men were arrested, according to assessors’ records. In July of 2010, Mr. Bernard pleaded guilty to assault and battery in connection with his arrest following allegations made by an exotic dancer hired by Mr. Bernard for a party at his home, according to police reports.