Police caught a 9th-grader casing cars on Sherman Parkway—and found he held the key to unlocking a string of East Rock burglaries.
The key he held belonged to a white 2013 Chrysler 200, stolen from a house that was burglarized on Everit Street.
Police pulled on that thread and unraveled five other burglaries as well.
The details are laid out in an arrest warrant affidavit on file in Superior Court on Elm Street. Here’s what happened, according to the affidavit prepared by Detective Justin Marshall:
On April 23, police responded to a report of a robbery on Everit Street. The back door had been forced open in the middle of the night. Burglars had made off with electronics, as well as a white Chrysler, which had been parked in front of the home.
On May 1, police caught a Hillhouse High School 9th-grader looking into cars parked outside the police academy on Sherman Parkway. As Officer William Hoffman approached the boy, he pulled a key from his pocket and tossed it. The boy told Hoffman that his friend “Patrick” had given him the key, that it belonged to white Chrysler he had been driving.
Officer James Baker, Hillhouse’s school resource officer, had seen the boy hanging out with a Patrick. He was able to provide Patrick’s last name.
In an interview later at police headquarters, the full story came out. The boy told detectives that in mid-April he had been with Patrick and another person when they burglarized a house on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. The two burglars dropped the boy off at his house, then later returned in a white Chrysler. Patrick told the boy that he’d gotten the car from a house he’d burglarized the night before.
On April 30, Patrick handed the boy the keys to the Chrysler. He told him the car was on Sherman, where it had run out of gas; he wanted him to hold the key for a while. On May 1, when he was caught at the police academy, the boy was waiting for Patrick to show up to give him back the key.
Police found the Chrysler, and a Dunkin Donuts receipt inside: three donuts purchased for $3.16 on April 23, the night of the Everit Street robbery.
The Dunkin Donuts, on Dixwell Avenue, pulled its surveillance footage for the date and time on the receipt. Police saw Patrick making his purchase. They had the evidence they needed to arrest him.
After interviewing Patrick, police connected him and two other people to a total of six burglaries: on Everit Street on April 23, Cliff Street and Everit Street on May 5, Cold Spring Street on May 6, Livingston Street and Everit Street on May 8.
Police arrested all three for the first Everit Street burglary and are preparing 15 warrants to charge them with the other five burglaries.