, Newburyport, MA

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October 8, 2010

Manhunt ends with capture in woods


Police have caught a man who allegedly set his Byfield home on fire and led them on a daylong manhunt through some of the town's most remote woods.

Lawrence "Bub" Chiappini, 43, of 58 Fruit St., was captured in the Downfall Wildlife Management Area around 4 p.m., some 17 hours after police say he lit his home on fire. Downfall is a 1,500-acre preserve of woods that is more widely known as a hunting area.

The manhunt began not long after firefighters were called to his home, located near Interstate 95.

State Police from several different barracks as well as the state Fire Marshall's office assisted in the search. Police toting shotguns were seen at the scene this morning.

A State Police helicopter and at least two K-9 search units were deployed.

The search was initially conducted conducted around Fruit Street, a side-street off Central Street, which borders the the Downfall Wildlife Management Area.

By 2 p.m., it had been called off. But shortly after that, police received a report that a man had been seen emerging from a drainpipe along Orchard Street, about a mile through the woods from Fruit Street.

Police quickly set up roadblocks and searched cars coming in and out of the Central Street/Orchard Street area. They also searched the woods, where Chiappini was eventually captured without incident.

Chiappini, who maintains a myspace page called "sincitysniper," a name derived from the nickname for his home city of Lynn. Chiappini's page contains photos of Marine snipers, but it is unclear whether Chiappini himself was a Marine sniper.

Daily News police logs indicate that Chiappini was arrested eatrlier this year for domestic assault abnd battery, and intimidating a witness. The charges were dismissed.

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