AP NEWS

Belvidere Neighbors Help Catch Suspect

May 28, 2019

LOWELL —Kevin Boucher, a resident of Thornton Avenue, doesn’t hesitate when asked “How would you describe your neighborhood?”

“Friendly,” Boucher said while standing on his front porch with his 19-year-old son Jacob.

“Once a year we have a little block party,” he added.

As Boucher affirms, this section of the Belvidere neighborhood tends to be quiet and peaceful. That’s why a trio of residential break-ins over the span of less than a week earlier this month was a bit of a surprise.

One of those break-ins ended with the arrest of Ronald Lamarche, 41, of Ossipee, N.H. — a town 100 miles away, with a population of roughly 4,300, according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau. The suspect was captured with the help of Boucher and Jacob. The father-son duo chased Lamarche down moments after one of the break-ins before police took him into custody.

“We all watch out for each other around here,” Boucher said.

The residents of Thornton Avenue and surrounding streets -- located in the northeastern tip of Belvidere -- tend to keep in contact through social media. When the first break-in took place at a Thornton Avenue home on May 7, it was known among the well-connected community.

It was around 9:30 p.m. May 9 when Jacob witnessed out a window another break-in unfolding at a neighbor’s house on Fetherston Avenue. Willing to break away from watching a Bruins playoff game, Jacob quickly alerted his father and the pair ran outside.

“The next street over, I could hear a guy yelling, ‘My house just got broken into,’” Boucher said. “I’m yelling over to him, ‘Where’d he go.’ I don’t think he heard us.”

The Bouchers walked a short distance on Thornton Avenue when they witnessed a man emerge from a backyard. After confronting the suspicious individual, “he just took off,” Boucher said.

“My son and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s go,’” he added.

The Bouchers sprinted after him, deciding to back off when the suspect cut through a wooded area. The concern was the man they were pursuing could be carrying a weapon. Knowing the layout of the land, the pair decided to wait for the suspect on the other side of the wooded space.

The suspect, now winded, eventually emerged. Keeping their distance and their eyes on the man, the Bouchers continued to follow. Shortly after, Lowell police arrived on scene, were flagged down by Boucher and the arrest was made.

According to Boucher, the homeowner of the targeted residence on Fetherston Street later told him about the break-in. He and his son had just ran out to buy something to eat for the Bruins game. When they returned, they noticed their home’s sliding-glass door was open.

“They basically walked in on this guy who was running out of their house,” Boucher said. “That’s how this whole thing happened. It was kind of a strange night.”

Lamarche was charged with breaking and entering at night, Lowell police Capt. James Hodgdon said. The 41-year-old was additionally charged with possession of burglar tools, after a wrench was found in his pocket.

Lamarche has since been arraigned in Lowell District Court, according to Elizabeth Vlock, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorneys Office. He was held on $500 cash bail and ordered by Judge Michael Brooks to stay away from the victim’s home.

Lamarche is slated to reappear in court on June 20.

Aside from the two break-ins on May 7 and May 9, a third home was broken into at some point between May 6 and May 11 on Virginia Avenue, Hodgdon said. Thornton, Fetherston and Virginia avenues are each less than a half mile long and run parallel to each other between Florence Street and River Road.

No arrests have been made to date for the break-ins on Thornton and Virginia avenues.

Since the criminal disruption in their sleepy neighborhood, Boucher said he has heard neighbors talk about installing security systems or cameras. An ADT security system sign is stuck in the well-manicured yard across the street from his Thornton Avenue home. Overall, Boucher adds nothing much has changed in this section of Belvidere.

“We have each other’s backs,” he said.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.