NEW BEDFORD — An officer of the New Bedford Police Department has been ordered held without bail after allegedly stealing his ex-wife's minivan and smashing the windows of the vehicle.

Sgt. Joshua Fernandes pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of violating a restraining order and was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

According to WJAR-TV, Fernandes' ex-wife was granted a restraining order against him last week after claiming he assaulted her on Easter. The woman claimed she feared for her safety, as well as her children's.

On Saturday, Fernandes and another individual located his ex-wife's van in a restaurant parking lot in Seekonk where the woman was meeting a friend. Fernandes allegedly slashed the tires of the friend's vehicle before taking the minivan to a nearby rest stop and smashing out the windows of the vehicle.

The individual with Fernandes at the time of the alleged incident told investigators that Fernandes had used a GPS tracking device that was previously installed on the minivan to locate it. Fernandes' lawyer told a judge that the device was placed on the van to monitor his 17-year-old daughter's whereabouts when she drove.

Prosecutors say additional charges against Fernandes, including two counts of assault and battery on the ex-wife, damage to property, and larceny of a vehicle are forthcoming.

Fernandes was one of three New Bedford police officers who received the George L. Hanna Jr. Memorial Awards for Bravery in 2007 for his response to the Foxy Lady shooting on Popes Island. Then Patrolman Fernandes was struck in the face by the gunman's bullet as he arrived on the scene. Two people were killed in the shooting before the gunman took his own life.


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