Alleged State House laptop thief pleads not guilty

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man accused of breaking into the Rhode Island State House and stealing laptop computers faced a judge Friday morning to enter a plea of not guilty.

Carlos Martinez, 43, of Providence, was arraigned on charges of possession of stolen goods and trespassing. The court assigned Martinez to receive counsel from the public defender’s office.

The laptops were believed stolen Wednesday evening; the theft was reported Thursday morning. It’s not clear how Martinez got into the office, because there was no sign of forced entry — whether he used an open or unlocked window to get in, or if he hid in the office before the building closed for the night. The computers held no sensitive material, merely drafts of legislation.

Martinez was found at City Hall Thursday with the laptops in his possession, police said. It’s believed he was planning to sell the laptops.

Martinez has crimes on his record dating back to 1996, including larceny, breaking and entering, fraudulent use of a credit card, drug possession, driving without a valid license, and shoplifting — in multiple towns, including Cumberland, Woonsocket, North Smithfield.

Bail was set at $2,000. Martinez is due back in court October 26 for a pretrial hearing.