Suspect Arrested in Two Charles Street Business Breaks

Days after several Charles Street businesses were targeted in four breaks-ins and an attempted break over the course of two nights the previous weekend, a suspect was arrested in connection with breaking into a pair of businesses on the street shortly after midnight on Thursday, Aug. 24.

James Schaff, a 55-year-old Boston man described as homeless, was arrested then on charges of breaking and entering, according to Boston Police.

Officers responded to the area of Flat the Hill, a gift shop located at 60 Charles St., at about 12:29 a.m. on Aug. 24,  for a reported breaking-and-entering in progress and located an individual who matched the suspect’s description walking down Charles Street towards Mass General Hospital.

The suspect, later identified as Schaff, attempted to walk away when police approached him, but officers caught up with him and immediately handcuffed the suspect, according to Boston Police.

(Schaff was also reportedly captured on a surveillance camera breaking into the store.)

Schaff was placed under arrest and charged with Breaking and Entering a Building at Nighttime. He was held on $20,000 cash bail after entering a non-guilty plea during his arraignment on Thursday, Aug. 24, at Boston Municipal Court.

He is due back in court in September.

No stranger to the justice system, Schaff, a Level 2 sex offender, was also reportedly convicted of aggravated rape in 1987.

Overnight on Saturday, Aug. 19, Soodee at 63A Charles St. and REMY Creations at 96 Charles St. both fell prey to breaking and enterings in which items were stolen from the respective businesses, while December Thieves at 51 Charles St. and E.R. Butler & Co. at 38 Charles St., were both targeted in unsuccessful attempted breaks.

The following night (Sunday, Aug. 20), Thieves Next Door at 53 Charles St. and J. Grady Home at 133 Charles St. were broken into, but in both instances, nothing was taken from either business.

J. Grady Home was also the target of two previous breaks in August of 2021 and March of 2022, respectively, but the culprits left emptyhanded both times because no cash is left in the register overnight at that business.

December Thieves was also hit overnight on May 7, when the cash register was looted. Schaff was also charged in connection with this break on Aug. 24 in Boston Municipal Court.

Of Schaff’s arrest, Nina Castellion, showroom manager of E.R. Butler., wrote in an email: “It is a relief that a suspect has been apprehended. The Beacon Hill business community is comprised of the most independently owned shops in Boston and keeping the neighborhood safe is of the upmost importance for visitors, residents and staff.”

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