**VIA THE CAPE COD TIMES ONLINE
By Patrick Cassidy
April 13, 2011
OAK BLUFFS – Two island men are facing charges after the police arrested them for allegedly stealing a safe with $85,000 in cash from another man’s home on Martha’s Vineyard.
Last month, a 77-year-old island man last month told the police his life savings – contained inside a safe – had been stolen, according to a statement released by the police Monday. The police focused their investigation on Daniel A. Ben David, 48, of Oak Bluffs, according to the police statement. Ben David agreed to a polygraph test and was taken to Mashpee on April 6, when the test was administered, the police said. After failing the polygraph test, Ben David allegedly admitted to stealing the safe and named an accomplice – Stanley Johnson, 50, of Oak Bluffs. Ben David was able to get another person to return $31,500 of the missing cash to the Mashpee Police Station, and he was charged with a string of crimes, including burglary and breaking into a depository. He was held on $20,000 bail, according to the police.
The police obtained warrants to search Ben David’s apartment and Johnson’s house, according to the police. During a search of Johnson’s home, officers found marijuana, cocaine and crack pipes in a room occupied by Stacy L. Strelecki of Edgartown, who was charged with possession of cocaine.
Johnson told the police he had taken his share of the cash from the safe to a family member’s home in New York, and the police agreed to let him go retrieve the cash on the condition that he return by April 8. A warrant was obtained for Johnson’s arrest after he had not returned by the afternoon of April 8 and did not pick up telephone calls made to his cellphone.
Officers then received information that Johnson may be in the Plymouth area, where he was later arrested by state and Plymouth police. At the time of his arrest, officers found $5,800 in cash on Johnson, which investigators believe came from the stolen safe. Johnson was taken to the Dukes County jail and held on $20,000 bail. He was charged with the same crimes as Ben David, as well as possession of cocaine. Johnson’s attorney, J. Drew Segadelli, said he contacted the police Friday and offered to have his client turn himself in at Edgartown District Court, but he said the police chose to arrest his client instead.
Although Segadelli was able to get Johnson’s bail reduced to $15,000, he has not appeared before a judge in Edgartown because one doesn’t sit there on a regular basis, the attorney said. Johnson will appear in court again on Friday, when a judge is available on the island, Segadelli said.
Johnson has close ties to the community and no defaults on his record, Segadelli said. The case remains open and under investigation, the police said.