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Man hunted down by Nashua woman whose dog was stolen arrested after standoff in Methuen

Union Leader Correspondent

June 14. 2018 12:36AM
Methuen, Mass., Police Chief Joseph Solomon tweeted this photo of the suspect being taken into custody after the standoff. (Methuen, Mass. PD via TWITTER)

A man accused of stealing a Nashua woman’s dog earlier this week was arrested Wednesday in Methuen, Mass., after barricading himself in the residence.

Authorities in Methuen were attempting to serve arrest warrants on Steven O’Neil, 38, on Wednesday morning when O’Neil fled and barricaded himself in the attic, according to Police Chief Joseph Solomon of the Methuen Police Department.

A SWAT team was called to the house while homes in the vicinity were temporarily evacuated as police secured the residence, said Solomon.

Negotiations with O’Neil were not successful, and police eventually made their way into the residence and found the man hiding in a piece of furniture in the attic, he said.

Police said they initially spotted a shotgun and two or three other weapons in the house, along with merchandise that is believed to have been stolen. A search warrant was obtained and police were continuing to investigate on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are being told by the family that there is a recent mental health situation,” said the chief, adding O’Neil will eventually be sent for an evaluation.

In the meantime, O’Neil was served with three outstanding arrest warrants and a fugitive from justice warrant out of the New Hampshire, according to Solomon.

Details on his exact charges were not immediately available on Wednesday, however Solomon said that O’Neil was wanted by authorities in Seabrook for an alleged breaking and entering, and by Nashua police for an alleged dog theft.

On Sunday evening, O’Neil allegedly snatched Nikko, a 25-pound Shih Tzu, from a parked car at a Walgreens store in the Gate City; the car’s air conditioner was running and the owner left the vehicle unlocked while she ran inside the store.

The dog’s owner, Amarilys (Lily) Martinez, took matters into her own hands earlier this week and began an online plea seeking information for anyone who knew the person responsible for taking her pup.

After police released a photograph of the suspect, a woman who knew the man contacted Martinez and provided her with his name and address. Martinez showed up at the same College Lane residence around noon on Tuesday when an occupant handed the dog over to her, she said.

Less than 24 hours later the brief standoff with Methuen police took place.

“Another situation resolved without injuries. True professionalism,” Solomon posted on Twitter after O’Neil was taken into custody.

O’Neil is scheduled to be arraigned on various charges today at Lawrence District Court.

Sgt. Daniel Ostler of the Nashua Police Department was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

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