NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 7, 2013

Armed home invasion suspect caught

Police, dog tracked man through woods

GROVELAND — Police said it could have ended a lot worse when an intruder with a large hunting knife broke into a Wood Street home occupied by a man with a handgun.

Instead, the incident concluded with Daniel J. Giannatsis, 19, of 20 Wood St., in custody after police tracked the fleeing suspect through the woods with the help of a state police dog.

Giannatsis was arraigned yesterday afternoon in Haverhill District Court on charges of breaking and entering in the night-time, home invasion, malicious destruction of property and possession of an illegal weapon. He was held without bail pending a hearing to determine whether he is a danger to the public.

Groveland deputy police Chief Jeffrey Gillen said officers responded to a call about a home alarm going off at 1:15 a.m. yesterday. He said officers arrived to find fresh footprints in the snow leading away from the home and into the woods.

Police called several nearby departments to help secure the perimeter and then called in a state police canine unit, Gillen said.

The police dog ultimately led officers to Giannatsis, who was hiding behind some bushes, Gillen said. The officers found Giannatsis with a large hunting knife and a knife holster strapped to his waist, Gillen said.

“The homeowner had a gun and this guy had a knife, so thankfully there wasn’t a confrontation inside the home,” Gillen said.

Although Giannatsis also lives on Wood Street, Gillen said it doesn’t appear the suspect and the homeowners know each other.

“He didn’t give us any explanation (for the home invasion),” Gillen said.

Gillen credited officers Stephen Petrone and John Lannon and the state police canine unit with excellent police work in capturing the suspect.

“Or else we’d have a home invasion with the suspect on the loose,” Gillen said.

Wood Street is off Seven Star Road near the West Newbury line.

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