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Burglary victims help catch thieves in Topsfield

By Michael Puffer

Staff writer

TOPSFIELD - Anne Trevenen was about to start her laundry yesterday morning when she noticed the contents of her purse had been dumped onto the kitchen counter and her cell phone was missing.

She ran upstairs to tell her husband and when she returned, she noticed a door to the outside had just been opened.

Anne dialed 911. But her husband didn't wait for the police. He and neighbor Al Cregg hopped into his car in pursuit of the perpetrators.

They didn't have to go far. They spotted a man squatting between two cars in a nearby driveway, clutching the bright orange backpack belonging to Trevenen's son, Trevenen said. They called police from their cell phone.

Their early morning chase led to the arrest of two men who may also be responsible for a string of burglaries across the North Shore, Topsfield police said.

Aaron MacCabe, 26, of 112 Bridge St., Apt. 2, and Paul Long, 27, of 23 Pleasant Ave., Hamilton, were arrested on various larceny and burglary charges.

"These two were like a two-man crime spree on the North Shore," said Topsfield Patrolman Shawn Frost. "I think we've probably solved 60 car breaks between all the North Shore towns."

Two Topsfield officers rushed to block off both ends of Wenham Road after arriving on the scene yesterday morning. They were joined by two Wenham officers and an off-duty canine officer from the Essex County Sheriff's Department.

Topsfield Patrolman Gary Hayward found a "very nervous" MacCabe in a red Hyundai parked on the side of Wenham Road, Frost said. MacCabe was arrested on burglary charges after a search of his car turned up stolen credit cards and identification, police said.

Cregg and Trevenen led police to Long, who tried to run into a wooded area but gave up after noticing a police dog on his tail, Frost said. Long was arrested on various burglary charges and two warrants for missed court appearances related to earlier burglary charges, police said.

Trevenen is a 47-year-old Masconomet Regional High School English teacher who had open-heart surgery one month ago. The short chase gave his wife quite a scare. But all turned out well, she said, and she was thankful police were able to respond quickly.

"I'm really impressed," Trevenen said. "I'm glad we never argue when their requests come before Town Meeting."

Frost said Long and MacCabe admitted to breaking into the Trevenen's home, as well as to thefts from cars in Hamilton and Beverly.

In Boxford, which has had more than a dozen burglaries this since May, Police Chief Gordon Russell said police are still focused on other suspects in their break-ins. Still, Boxford police will investigate for possible ties, he said.

Long and MacCabe were arraigned yesterday in Newburyport District Court. Long was held on $10,000 cash bail and MacCabe was held on $5,000 cash bail. They will be back in court on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Staff writer Michael Puffer can be reached at (978) 338-2544 or by e-mail at [email protected].
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