A 58-year-old Edgartown woman was arrested Monday after confessing to breaking into six homes in the downtown village, Det. Sgt. Chris Dolby of the Edgartown police said.
Christine Houston was arraigned on Tuesday in Edgartown district court on six counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime and several counts of larceny. She was given representation and entered a plea of not guilty. She is being held in Bristol County jail on $10,000 bail. Further charges are expected, Detective Dolby said.
The arrest follows two spates of home break-ins: First in June, three School street homes were broken into four times (one twice) with prescription medication and heirloom jewelry reported missing. In September, again three homes on School, Norton and High streets were broken into four times.
Detective Dolby said that with the numbers of people with access to each house in the summer for jobs such as landscaping, construction and pool maintenance, it was difficult to develop leads.
About half the homes were locked. In some cases the thief crawled in through a window, Mr. Dolby said, and in another the only access would have been via a second-story terrace with no ladder or steps from the outside.
In October a South Summer street homeowner arrived to find a woman in the residence. Startled, the homeowner reported the incident to police but was unable to positively identify a suspect from photos, he said.
Again in November, a caretaker for another South Summer street home apparently interrupted a break-in, also encountering a woman, Detective Dolby said. When confronted, the stranger said, “I didn’t take anything,” and took off, Mr. Dolby said. “[The caretaker] was unable to make a selection from the photo ID array either, but they both leaned toward this lady,” he said of Ms. Houston.
On Monday, Detective Dolby said, “I decided just to go have a chat with the lady . . . she came to door, she invited me in.
“I told her there had been a couple of recent incidents where a female had been seen . . . and suggested that she really matched the description,” he said.
He said Ms. Houston admitted she had trespassed at some of the homes, was sorry and voluntarily came to station. She told police she had broken her leg and become addicted to prescription painkillers four years ago, Mr. Dolby said.
She was arrested and a search warrant was executed on her Norton street residence, where some of the stolen jewelry was found, the detective said.
She will appear again in court today.