HN PHOTO: Detectives and patrol officers outside Hyannis House Apartments, Tuesday evening, 9/11/18
HYANNIS – According to papers filed in Barnstable District Court by Barnstable Police Detective Lieutenant Mark Mellyn, a 40-year-old live-in maintenance man was one of only three employees to possess master keys to every unit at the Hyannis House Apartments located at 290 West Main Street.
Detective David Foley and Patrolman Evan Haussman had been following up on previously unreported breaking and enterings at the apartment complex which mainly houses elderly persons over 55-years-old.
The previous breaks, described as “numerous,” alarmed residents because there had been no signs of forced entry in each case. In one case, a firearm had been reported stolen, which only caused more alarm.
Patrolman Haussman interviewed a 71-year-old female who stated that at about 5:00 am on Sunday, August 19, 2018, she had been sitting in her living room because she was having trouble sleeping, when she heard a noise coming from her apartment door. It sounded like someone using a key to unlock her deadbolt. She yelled toward the door and the noise briefly stopped, but the noise soon started up again when someone began unlocking her door knob. She yelled a second time and heard a man say that he was “sorry,” before walking away. She told police she recognized the voice to be that of Francis, the apartments’ live-in maintenance man. She later interacted with Francis and told police he had apologized, stating he had mistook her apartment door for that of a nearby maintenance closet.
Nevertheless, the 71-year-old woman remained fearful, believing Francis had been knowingly trying to enter her apartment while she was sleeping. She also told Patrolman Haussman that Francis worked Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and he had no reason to be going into any apartment maintenance closet at 5:00 am on a Sunday.
Patrolman Haussman investigated further, noting that the apartment door was set into the wall while the maintenance door, located approximately 20 feet down the hallway, was flush with the wall. The apartment door had a number plate, a peephole, and a door knocker at eye level. The victim’s door also had a deadbolt lock, and an unusual door knob which requires the key to be inserted upside down. The victim’s doorway also had decorations, a welcome mat, table, and wall hangings.
Patrolman Haussman then interviewed a second victim, a 72-year-old female resident of an apartment located on the first floor of the building. When Patrolman Haussman went to speak with her, he noticed she had her door barricaded with “items” because, like the first victim, she was fearful Francis would return and try to break in again.
The second victim stated her apartment had been broken into in March of 2018. A friend had been staying with her because of a power outage caused by a March Nor’easter. The friend had been sleeping on the living room floor at about 1:00 am, but awoke when a white male entered through the rear sliding door, making noise by stepping on a “bunch of bags.” The male house guest yelled and attempted to give chase, but the male suspect was too fast. The male house guest lost sight of the fleeing burglar, but not before a witness standing on a third floor balcony heard the commotion and reportedly saw Francis running through the complex.
The witness on the third floor balcony told police she knew it was Francis not only because he was the building’s maintenance employee, but also because she had grown up with Francis. She also told police she noticed Francis had been wearing a white sweatshirt, identical to her own white sweatshirt – Francis and the third floor balcony witness had both received the unique sweatshirts at the same time as gifts.
The second victim also told police she now sleeps with a knife because of the fear caused by the entire ordeal. The only reason she didn’t report the crime earlier was because she was afraid she would be evicted if management found out she had a cat in her apartment.
On Tuesday, 9/11/2018, at about 8:30 pm, Barnstable Detectives paid Francis a visit, catching up to him in a hallway near the apartment building’s office.
Francis was questioned and reportedly consented to having his apartment searched. Francis denied knowledge of any previous B&E’s that had occurred over the last several years. He admitted to opening the first victim’s door and that he later apologized to her. He denied ever entering the second victim’s apartment through a slider and being chased away.
Detective Lieutenant Mellyn advised Francis that in each of the breaks there was no apparent forced entry and that only 3 people possess the master keys to the apartment complex.
As a result of their investigation (which may contain more details not yet released in this report), detectives believe they had a enough to charge the live-in maintenance man, Matthew R. Francis, age 40, of Apartment 206, 290 West Main Street, in Hyannis, with three felonies: 2 Counts of Unarmed Burglary and 1 Count of Possession of Burglarious Tools for using his “master key” to make entry into the first victim’s apartment.
* All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
At the time of this report, Francis is currently being held at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in lieu $5000 cash bail.
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