In this week's edition, a woman identifies a robbery suspect by the wrench he's carrying, Connecticut residents spot a mysterious big cat, a man in a fake mustache and toupee robs a bank, and more.

Monkey wrench helps woman ID robbery suspect

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Police say a homeless man broke into a Framingham home on Monday and stole a monkey wrench, and was caught the next day after a resident spotted him carrying the same pilfered tool.

Joseph Beaulieu, 40, was arrested when that resident saw him outside and called police about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, said police spokesman Lt. Ron Brandolini.

A woman told police she ran into the man about 8:30 Monday night in a hallway in her building. When she asked what he was doing there, he swore at her and left, Brandolini said. Later, residents realized two windows in the basement were smashed and a monkey wrench and wirecutters appeared to be missing.

The woman called police when she saw Beaulieu coming down the street Tuesday morning carrying what she believed to be the missing monkey wrench.

Beaulieu was arrested and charged with breaking and entering for a misdemeanor and two counts of malicious destruction of property valued over $250.

By getting arrested, Beaulieu violated the conditions of release in another case he had pending in Framingham District Court. In court, he pleaded guilty to the new charges and was sentenced by Judge Sarah Singer to serve 35 days jail.

Big-cat reports have Connecticut residents talking

THOMPSON, Conn. -- Norman Rudzinski of Thompson remembers the piercing screech of the mountain lion he says he saw roaming his property a few years ago.

“It made the hair on my arms stand up,” he said. “I thought I was seeing things. I thought, ‘Man, that’s a big cat.’ ”

Though there have been no confirmed sightings in Connecticut in decades, a number of recent reports of mountain lion sightings across town have residents and officials concerned.

“I’d hate like heck to see anything bad happen here,” First Selectman Larry Groh Jr. said. “Numerous people now are saying they’ve seen a mountain lion. I hope it’s not more than one.”

However, witnesses describe an animal unlike others native to the region.

“We receive many, many reports of mountain lions and have for decades, but we’ve never been able to verify them or it’s always been a different species,” said Paul Rego, a state Department of Environmental Protection wildlife biologist. 

He said mountain lions live in Florida and parts of the Midwest, and people often mistake coyotes and bobcats for mountain lions.

Man in fake mustache and toupee robs bank

QUINCY, Mass. -- A man wearing what looked like a fake mustache and a toupee robbed the Bank of America branch in Quincy, making off with an undetermined amount of cash.

Quincy police Capt. John Dougan said the robber was a white man about 5-foot 7-inches tall and between 28 and 32 years old. The man was wearing dark glasses when, at about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, he jumped over the bank counter and began opening drawers, looking for cash.

The robber grabbed money from one of the drawers, pushing a teller out of the way in the process. No one was injured, Dougan said.

The robber fled in a pickup truck. Police found the truck – empty but still running – on a nearby road.

Lost class ring found by tree-farm dog


ZOAR, Ohio -- Hannah Butts of East Sparta is thankful a young Dachshund named Forest likes to scour the ground.

Butts claimed a class ring that Forest found on Gus Ruetenik’s tree farm in Zoar and deposited on his owner’s porch. The ring held the initials of Butts, who had worked at the tree farm during the Christmas season.

A student at Stark State College of Technology, she was unaware she lost the ring and thought it was at home. Butts played quad drums in the high school band, and the word “percussion” was engraved on the ring.

Her aunt, Teresa Snyder, read the story about Forest’s finds in the local newspaper and contacted her niece.

Longtime tree farmer Ruetenik, 86, said Butts, in gratitude, offered to work a day for free and was glad her ring was found.

As for Forest, he still is on duty taking all the treasures he finds back to his master, who rewards him with a treat.

GateHouse News Service