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A 60-year-old Arlington man has been charged with an assault on a police officer.

Gregory J. Sahagian, 60, whose address police gave as Crawford Street, but who is said to have been living in a tent at nearby Gorham for eight months, was arrested.

The story begins with a case of mistaken identity.

Police report officers responded about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, to Gorham Street for a report of a cab driver attempting to collect a fare.

Awakened by a cab driver banging on his door trying to collect a fare, a resident told police he had been home and in bed since about 9 the previous evening.

The cabbie reported that an older white male with gray hair had exited his cab and entered Gorham Street without paying. After seeing the resident, the cabbie said the man was not his fare.

The resident told police the man they were seeking occasionally cuts through his yard and lives in a tent on an adjacent property.

Police saw the tent in the woods between two properties. An officer saw a male lying face down in the leaves and heavy brush between the properties. Police said the man is Sahagian.

Police woke him, and Sahagian said he had hundreds of dollars on him and had no problem paying his cab fare. Police said the man showed obvious signs of intoxication.

Sahagian also said he did not have a wallet and needed to enter his home, get his wallet and pay the fare.

Police said the man was evasive when asked why he had been in the woods and why he had been driven to a different address than his home.

"I’m not playing games .... I’m not wasn't doing anything," he told police.

Sahagian then led police to a Crawford Street address, where events become more complicated. 

Heading into a kitchen, police requested that Sahagian find his wallet, so he removed his shoes and pulled a chair away from the kitchen table.

Police told Sahagian not to sit but to lead him to where his wallet was. Police also asked where the other person in the house was. At that, Sahagian "became agitated," the police report says.

Police insisted they speak with the person, and Sahagian said: "No you will not."

Asked for his wallet, Sahagian said, "I'll give you my passport!"

Sahagian exited the kitchen into a darkened hallway, and an officer began to follow. The report says:

"Gregory turned around and put his arms out, in an attempt to prevent me from following him into the home. When I told him I would be following him, he said, 'I don't think so,' and forcibly shut two small french doors on me striking me in the arms and chest.

"I took control of Gregory using hand controls and brought him to the ground."

Two officers detained and handcuffed Sahagian.

At this point, a second person in the house woke and began screaming. Order was restored with another officer at the scene.

Sahagian was searched and found to possess, among other things, a glassine baggy containing three small bags of a green vegetative substance that police determined was marijuana.

Informed of the reason for the altercation and arrest, the other person in the house was willing to pay the cab fare, $41.55.

The cabbie said that earlier in Harvard Square, he had picked up Sahagian, who requested to be brought to a Bank of America ATM to withdraw funds to pay for the cab. He then asked to be dropped off at Gorham Street. On arrival, he told the cabbie he could not pay and that he would get the money from his home.

When Sahagian did not return, the cabbie rang the bell at a Gorham address and was told Sahagian has been living in the tent in the backyard of the property for about eight months. He told police he often hears him late at night in the tent talking loudly on his cell phone. The man was advised that should he have further trouble with Sahagian, he should contact Arlington police.

At the station the three baggies were weighed and Sahagian was issued a bylaw violation for possession of marijuana less than one ounce.


This story was published Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.