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Police commandeer kayaks for aquatic pursuit of alleged boat thief

Leicester police were ready when a concerned citizen called about a man apparently breaking into a Green Street home. They had checked on the house earlier that day after a Worcester police request, so they sent multiple units around.

That doesn't mean they were entirely prepared for what happened next, according to MassLive.com. The concerned citizen had said there was a man climbing a ladder into a second-story window, and that the man had apparently cut a screen and crawled into a window. When police arrived, a man allegedly ran out the back door wearing a backpack.

Although multiple units had been deployed, the Leicester officers called for backup from Oxford, Spencer and the State Police. A trooper says he noticed the suspect in a rowboat navigating his way across Greenville Pond.

The officers yelled at the man to return to shore, but they say he responded that he was only fishing. It was determined that a pursuit was necessary.

"We ended up having to commandeer two kayaks," said Leicester's chief of police. "The kayaks were there with the paddles and the life jackets, which made it very easy for us."

One Leicester officer and one Spencer officer took the kayaks and chased down the suspect, then escorted him back to shore. They identified him as a 33-year-old Worcester man. The owners of the kayaks were informed that police had used them in pursuit of a suspect.

"I have to tell you this is the second one in two years" that Leicester police had been involved in an aquatic pursuit. In 2015, a suspect eluded Leicester police by escaping in a rowboat across Waite Pond.

The suspect has a criminal history and was found with some suspicious articles in his possession. According to MassLive.com, he was carrying an allegedly stolen wallet and some jewelry. He is not suspected of stealing anything from the Green Street house.

He has been charged with possession of a burglarious instrument, carrying a dangerous weapon (a knife), daytime breaking and entering and larceny over $250. He was also arrested on an outstanding warrant from Westborough District Court.

This was certainly an interesting story -- and an unusual day for area police. As always, however, it's important to remember that the man is considered innocent until he is proved guilty in a court of law.

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