LOWELL -- A 56-year-old city man was placed on probation for a year after he admitted to using a dental pick to stab his neighbor in the leg because he suspected the victim was involved with the theft of his moped.

In Lowell District Court on Thursday, Gary S. Rasmussen, of 89 Westford St., unit 2, admitted to sufficient facts to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Judge Michael Brooks continued Rasmussen's case without a finding for a year while he is on probation. At the end of the year, if he no further legal problems, the case will be dismissed.

Prosecutor Daniel Brunelli explained that at about 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 9, Lowell police responded to 89 Westford St. for a report of a possible stabbing. Officers found the 39-year-old victim, Rasmussen's neighbor, sitting on the stairs bleeding from a wound on his leg.

The victim told police that Rasmussen accused him of stealing his moped. An argument turned physical and he victim was stabbed in the leg with the dental pick. The item was found on the stairs. There is no explanation as to why Rasmussen had a dental pick.

Defense attorney Peter Parlow explained the moped, which was chained outside his home, was important to his client. Parlow said the victim told Rasmussen he saw some people the night before around the moped. The next morning it was gone.

In viewing, security tapes of the area, some people were seen around the moped, but the victim was not seen, triggering Rasmussen's suspicions that the victim had something to do with the theft, Parlow said. Another man has been charged in the case.

When Rasmussen confronted the victim, an argument turned physical. Parlow said The victim had Rasmussen in a head lock when his client pulled out a dental pick and stabbed the victim in the leg, Parlow said.

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