October 19, 2011
By Mark E. Vogler [email protected]
METHUEN — Police credited an observant Benefit Street resident with alerting them to a burglary of a neighbor’s home — a tip that led to half-hour foot chase and the capture of a 24-year-old Haverhill man suspected of several house breaks in the western part of the city.
Shoeless, exhausted and aggressively pursued by police and neighbors, Michael Robillard finally stopped running at about 4:07 p.m. yesterday when police Sgt. James Gunter, assisted by Lt. Michael Pappalardo arrested him at 23 Harvard Ave.
“He really had nowhere to go,” Sgt. Steve Smith said last night. “There were too many people in the area and there was no fight left in him.”
Robillard, who, lives with his mother at 35 Jackson St., Haverhill, according to police, was being held without bail overnight at the Methuen Police Station, pending his arraignment in Lawrence District Court today.
He was charged with breaking and entering in the daytime to commit a felony, receiving stolen property over $250, attempting to commit a crime, disorderly person, resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property over $250. He also faces two outstanding arrest warrants, one for distribution of heroin in a school zone in Lawrence and the other out of Boston for illegal possession of a prescription medication.
Smith said detectives believe he is involved in several breaks in the west side of the city, an area plagued with more than three dozen house burglaries dating back to August.
“I’m sure he’s got involvement with more than one break,” Smith said. “But we do believe there are other people involved in all of these breaks. It wasn’t just him.”
“He’ a heroin addict. He doesn’t deny that,” Smith said of Robillard, who was being interviewed by detectives last night.
The chase for Robillard began at 3:41 p.m. yesterday, after a Benefit Street resident called police to report seeing a suspicious man hanging out near a neighbor’s house. Then the neighbor heard the sound of glass breaking.
“Sgt. Gunter was first on scene,” Smith said. “He approached the house, went up on side deck and he could see some glass broken on the second floor.”
“He (Sgt. Gunter) watched the male subject walk out of the house, carrying a bag,” Smith said. “As soon as the suspect saw Sgt. Gunter, he dropped the bag, he ran back through the house and out the front. Then, he started running every little side street in the area. We had neighbors on Pinehurst Avenue chase him. He had some flip flops, but lost those while running. When we finally caught him, he was just in stocking feet, covered with mud. He was wearing a pair of gym shorts and a brown sweatshirt.”
Robillard had been hanging our recently in the College Lane area, according to police.
Police Chief Joseph Solomon joined officers at the scene of the foot chase. Others included Capt. Randy Haggar, Detectives Keith Frost, Richard Pilz and Arthur Hardy, and Officers Charley DeJesus, Chad Sirois, Dan O’Connell, Shaun Cronin, Walter Fleming, Abel Cano and Jeffrey Torrisi.
Police have urged residents in the western part of the city to lock their doors and windows in the wake of a huge increase in housebreaks. Police used an automatic phone calling system to alert residents to the rash of burglaries.