2018-08-02 / Front Page

Police nab suspects tied to burglaries

Woonsocket, Providence men charged with string of statewide break-ins
BY TIM RIEL

Two inner-city men were arrested Monday on Intrepid Lane following an alleged string of burglaries that stretched from Worcester County to Narragansett Bay.

“It was a good day,” said Ed Mello, Jamestown’s chief of police. “Everybody did a great job. I can’t imagine the community concern had we not found them.”

Thomas Pleau, 43, of Woonsocket, and John Young, 26, of Providence, were both charged with five counts of breaking and entering. The men also were arraigned for conspiracy Tuesday morning in Newport. According to Mello, both suspects have lengthy rap sheets.

Complaints about break-ins were reported in the West Ferry area, including homeowners on Marine, Pierce and Lawn avenues. Police also responded to calls from North Main Road and Intrepid Lane.

Shortly before noon Monday, Jamestown police received a report from Lawn Avenue about a homeowner confronted by an unknown man in her home. The man fled on foot, Mello said. Almost simultaneously, Jamestown police received a phone call from authorities in Sutton, Mass., alerting them of a vehicle that was wanted in an investigation related to burglaries. That vehicle, Mello said, was tracked electronically to Intrepid Lane.

Mello, along with Sgt. Karen Catlow, spotted the traced vehicle and pulled it over in the East Passage Estates. During that traffic stop, Mello allegedly found jewelry in possession of the vehicle’s sole occupant, Young. These items matched the description of property reported stolen, Mello said. Young was taken into custody.

Within minutes, while canvassing the area for Young’s accomplice, Mello said he located a suspicious man on Intrepid Lane with a duffle bag. After Mello told the man to stop, the suspect allegedly dropped the bag and ran into a backyard. While Mello pursued the man on foot, state police dispatched a K-9 unit to the scene. Pleau reportedly was found hidden in brush behind a stone wall.

During this pursuit, an emergency robocall notification was sent from the town’s provider, Code Red, to residents in town, warning them “to be vigilant and secure their doors.” A follow-up message was sent 90 minutes later.

“Two suspects have been taken into custody,” Mello told the community. “There appears to be no other suspects at-large, and no further threat to the public.”

According to Mello, his department will reopen unsolved burglaries in town to see if these suspects may be connected. That includes a case in January in which a Shoreby Hill homeowner chased a masked suspect from his home with a rifle. Like Monday’s arrest, Mello believes that burglar had an accomplice in the area waiting with a getaway vehicle.

“There’s a very similar pattern,” he said, pointing to the midday timeframe and their penchant for stealing jewelry in lieu of bulky electronics.

Along with state troopers, Newport and North Kingstown police assisted Jamestown during the investigation. Mello said multiple law enforcement agencies throughout Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts are expected to file additional charges against Pleau and Young.

According to Mello, security measures for homeowners to consider include cameras,
alarms, dogs and lighting. Even without these assets, for example, there is nothing stopping a homeowner from posting a “Beware of Pit Bull” sign on their fence. An ADT yard flag or NRA membership sticker also are effective, police said.

Finally, homeowners should never let a stranger into the house without identification.

“If someone comes to the door and claims to be from the water department or National Grid, ask for ID,” Mello said.

Find out more at forum tonight

A community forum to discuss the recent string of burglaries is scheduled for 6 tonight at the library, 26 North Road. According to Lt. Angela Deneault, members of the police department will discuss Monday’s arrest of two men following a foot chase in the north end of town. These suspects are accused of breaking into five homes during the day. Police also will discuss safety measures for residents to consider to secure their homes.

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