New police warning system helps catch Tilton burglar
Jonathon Couturier, 28, of 41 Elkins St., Franklin was arrested Thursday on the charges and arraigned in Franklin District Court on Friday, according to Police Chief Robert Cormier.
Couturier is being held at Belknap County Jail on $5,000 cash bail. He is also being held on a probation violation, Cormier said.
It was the first use of an electronic “Alert Tilton” message, using the commercial Everbridge Alert System. The system sent email and mobile alert messages on Dec. 20, warning residents of an increase in burglaries in the town’s Hemlock neighborhood.
The messages also asked residents to report anything suspicious.
On Thursday at 1 p.m. police responded to a call of a suspicious man dressed completely in black observed walking through yards in west Tilton in the Hemlock area. Police officers responded and began checking the area until they located fresh tracks in the snow, Cormier said.
Officers followed the tracks in the snow to a house, which appeared to be vacant. Police said the tracks went up to the back door and then around to the front door, which appeared to have been pried or forced open. On the floor inside the door was fresh snow and footprints, according to police .
Believing the suspect was still inside the house, officers set up perimeter around the building and attempted to call the suspect out. Eventually, police went into to the residence, where they located Couturier hiding in a bedroom, Cormier said.
Police said Couturier was taken into custody without incident. Cormier said there were other residences in the same area where Couturier was originally spotted and he later confessed to breaking into those as well.
“It was a combination of local residents calling in suspicious activity, and then working together with patrol officers who responded and quickly located the suspect, who was hiding in a house that he had just broken into, and who was caught in the act which led to a great arrest,” Cormier said. “Great job by all.”