CHATHAM — A 27-year-old man with addresses in Chatham and Norwood, Mass., faces a laundry list of criminal charges after his arrest Wednesday morning, hours after he allegedly stole one vehicle and then carjacked another.
At his arraignment in Orleans District Court last Wednesday, Joseph M. Bopp pleaded not guilty to 14 separate charges. He was also the subject of several outstanding warrants for allegedly having missed previous court appearances.
At about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, Chatham police were called to investigate a report of a 1999 Mercury Sedan that had been stolen from 784 Main St. following a domestic dispute. The report indicated that the vehicle was last seen being driven by a white man north on Orleans Road toward Orleans. Police spotted the vehicle driving recklessly on Orleans Road and saw it cross into the town of Harwich but then lost sight of the vehicle someplace between the Wequassett Inn and Route 39. Officers from Chatham, Harwich, Orleans and Brewster scoured the area without luck; the car was finally found at about 12:08 a.m. crashed and abandoned on Shoal Lane in South Orleans.
Shortly after 12:30 last Wednesday morning, officers were called to Jackknife Landing near the Muddy Creek Bridge, where they found a vehicle upside-down in the water. The owner of the vehicle, a 48-year-old Harwich woman, was at the scene and told police that a white man had approached her vehicle and forcibly removed her from it. According to the woman, the suspect tried to drive the vehicle away, but crashed it in the water before fleeing the scene on foot.
The woman, who was not identified, was not injured. Chatham Police Lt. Michael Anderson said it appeared as if the driver tried to make a tight turn at the landing and rolled the vehicle over the beach grass berm into the water. The tide was low at the time.
Anderson said police had reason to believe the man would return to the home at 784 Main St. where the previous evening's call originated, and had officers watching the scene. At about 8:45 a.m. police saw a man matching the description of the suspect enter the property. They identified him as Joseph Bopp of 784 Main St., Chatham, and Stratford Road, Norwood.
Stemming from the first incident, Bopp was charged with larceny and reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, operating without head or tail lights, driving with a suspended license, failing to stop for police, and assault on a family or household member. The second set of charges from Wednesday morning’s incident included carjacking, larceny of a motor vehicle, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a motor vehicle), assault and battery, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident that caused property damage.
Police are continuing their investigation and say additional charges are possible.
“The case is still open,” Anderson said.
Despite having been in two vehicle crashes in less than two hours, Bopp was uninjured.
Police informed the town's natural resources department about the potential for hazardous material to have been spilled in Muddy Creek because of the incident.
Chatham police were assisted by officers from Harwich, Orleans and Brewster, as well as the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office. They also credited Silver Cloud Towing with helping to recover the vehicle.
“We are very happy we were able to put some closure on this,” he said.