Cell Phone in Stolen Van Leads to Felony Larceny Arrest

According to South Kingstown police, a cell phone led them to tracing a stolen van to a 42-year-old Woonsocket man accused of being the thief.

Unless otherwise noted, information about the following incidents was supplied by the South Kingstown Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction. 

Neil Exumn Britto, 42, of 26 Burnside Ave., Woonsocket, was arrested at about 10:46 a.m. on June 20 and charged with felony larceny.

According to police, they received a report of a stolen van at about 9:02 a.m. on June 15. From witnesses, police determined that a cell phone had been left in the van, although no one answered it at this time.

On June 18, police received a report from the theft victims that a woman was now answering the stolen phone. Police called the woman, a Woonsocket resident, and she told police that Britto had given her the phone and left a van outside of her apartment.

South Kingstown police asked to investigate, and they confirmed that the van outside the woman’s apartment was the stolen one. Woonsocket police also recovered the van’s keys and the cell phone from the woman.

On June 19, police did an inventory of the van with the owner. While he said that there was no damage to the exterior of the van, he told police his tools and the van’s radio were missing.

Police said shortly before 11 a.m. on June 20, they received a tip that Britto was at the Welcome Mart on High Street. He was arrested without incident.

According to police, Britto told them that he had been drinking on June 8, when the van was stolen. He wanted to get back to Woonsocket, and took the van between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to drive back. He denied stealing the tools or the radio, but he told police that he had left the van unlocked in the “projects” of Woonsocket.

Police noted that Britto also had two warrants out for his arrest, for failing to appear at a Sixth Division District court hearing for a charge of obstruction, and for failing to appear at a Family Court hearing.

According to online records, Britto has been charged with more than a half-dozen misdemeanors since 1990, and four felonies:

  • In September 2008, he pleaded no contest to a Woonsocket Police charge of felony drug possession. He was ordered to serve six months at the ACI, followed by 2.5 years probation. Because of a probation violation, he served another six months.
  • In March 2007, he pleaded no contest to a Providence Police charge of driving a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was ordered to serve three years probation and to pay restitution.
  • In June 2006, he pleaded no contest to Woonsocket Police charges of possession of stolen motor vehicle parts and larceny less than $500. He was ordered to serve two years probation and to pay restitution.
  • In April 1991, Providence Police charged Britto with attempted breaking and entering. Results of these charges were not available.

Britto appeared in Fourth Division District Court on June 20 and was granted surety bail. According to the ACI online database, he is not currently incarcerated.

Unless otherwise noted, the information for this article was compiled from South Kingstown police reports, which are available for review by any member of the public at its .

Tommy Tutone June 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
A big thumbs up to all the taxpayers of Woonsocket for making this bust possible!
Job Seeker June 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM
And what will become of Mr. Britto? Nothing but another slap on his hands.....


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