By Dave Rogers
---- — SALISBURY — A Beach Road resident received a shocking wake up call yesterday morning tackling an alleged burglar running out of his garage after attempting to steal several items.
The alleged burglar, 48-year-old Frank Leatham of 10 Woodman Way, No. 21, Newburyport, was first tackled by the homeowner before getting up on his feet and fleeing into a wooded area behind the road. He was quickly apprehended by Salisbury police officer Bruce Dow off CCC Road, with assistance from Sgt. Robert Roy.
According to Sgt. Roy’s police report, the homeowner tried to open the back door of his garage around 7:15 a.m. only to find the door locked from the inside. He then heard shuffling inside the garage followed by the sound of a garage window breaking. He quickly ran to investigate the breaking glass when he saw Leatham flee from the garage through the back door. The victim was able to push Leatham to the ground, momentarily stopping him. But Leatham was able to get back on his feet and run away.
Eventually, Dow was able to locate Leatham leaning against a tree off CCC Road. Dow called out to Leatham and ordered him to approach police. He complied and was placed under arrest. While placing Leatham in handcuffs, Roy said he could detect a strong scent of alcohol from his mouth. When questioned by police, Leatham said he had been staying at the Beachway Motel the previous night.
It is not known why Leatham broke into the garage but he may have been looking for a place to sleep and stay warm. There was also property, including a composite hunting bow, a rifle case and a chainsaw, that belonged to the homeowner stacked near the exit as if Leatham was planning on stealing it, according to police.
“This was an excellent display of teamwork between the two officers responding. We currently have very limited resources but the efforts put forth to capture this burglar were outstanding. It is my hope to expand the number of officers working the day shift so we can not only react efficiently to calls like this one but also be proactive in our policing activities,” Salisbury police chief Thomas Fowler said.
Leatham was charged with nighttime breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property over $250. Leatham was also wanted on an unrelated probation warrant violation. He was processed at the Salisbury Police Department and transported to Newburyport District Court for arraignment. Judge Peter Doyle order Leatham held on $5,000 cash bail pending a pretrial hearing scheduled for April 30. As part of his bail conditions, Leatham must stay away and have no contact with the victim.