The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 26, 2004


Police sleuth solves suspicious person mystery

Carlisle Police Lieutenant John Sullivan, who has something of a reputation in the Carlisle Police Department for successful stakeouts, recently solved what he calls "two from the desk." Agatha Christie's renowned Hercule Poirot himself would have been impressed by the way Sullivan used "his little gray cells" to track down the source of two suspected burglary attempts.

It started with a report from a Bedford Road resident the first week in March. The resident reported at 5:15 p.m. that a suspicious person had left tracks in his yard and gone up to the house. Carlisle Police had been advised

to be on the alert for possible break-ins, so Sullivan did the whole police routine, pictures of tire tracks with a ruler beside them, pictures of boot tracks through the mud. A path of tracks led through an opening in the fence and back out again to the house through the front gate, but not up to the door. There the matter rested.

Five days later a nearby resident reported tracks. This was at a residence where a motion detector takes a picture when it is activated. The security picture was given to police and enhanced, and Sullivan, sitting at his desk, saw the vague outlines of a small white car behind the man in the foreground. He thought the car looked like an NStar car and, after what he describes as about 15 phone calls, he got NStar and verified that there had been a meter reading on the day the incident was reported.

Sullivan, still at his desk, thought "why stop there?" and he got back on the phone to NStar. After another 15 or so calls, he got a field representative who confirmed that the Bedford Road meter had also been read on the day the suspicious person was reported. Sullivan advised the field representative that the lawn had been turfed in the process and the owner was unhappy about the matter. "Tell him to call me," said the field representative, and the case was closed before Sullivan got up from his desk.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito