While it is legal to monitor police radio frequencies, a Springfield man was charged after he allegedly assaulted a Springfield cop, and the officer subsequently found that he was wearing an earpiece that monitored state and local police radio channels.
Gilberto Vazquez, 40, of 160 Euclid Ave., was busted after a struggle with a K-9 officer near Fargo Street just before midnight Saturday, according to Springfield police Sgt. John Delaney.
Officers responded to a complaint of a "prowler" wearing dark clothing near the back of a house on Gilbert Avenue, which has been the scene of several breaking and entering incidents over the past few months, Delaney said.
The K-9 officer located a man matching the description of the suspect running down the street. The man resisted arrest and struggled with the officer when he caught up with the suspect near Fargo Street, Delaney said.
"The presence and barking of (K-9) Kira stopped the suspect from carrying it any further," Delaney said.
The officer requested immediate assistance and described his location on his portable radio when he was startled to hear his own voice on a delay as he struggled with the suspect, Delaney said.
Police found that the alleged burglar was equipped with an earpiece that was wired into a portable police scanner, Delaney said. The scanner was tuned to the Springfield police and Massachusetts state police radio channel. The alleged burglar also had a cell phone with the Springfield police dispatch smartphone application tuned in to hear police dispatches, Delaney said.
The officer also found a metal crowbar and a knife on Vazquez. He had a small flashlight attached to his wrist by a string and was wearing gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints behind, Delaney said.
"The officers found his footprints around the house he was staking out, and the prints went right to the rear of the house he was going to break into," Delaney said. "The neighbors and homeowner cooperated and called the police right away when they spotted this guy."
Vazquez was charged with possession of burglar tools, assault and battery on a police officer and trespassing, according to an arrest report. Vazquez will be arraigned in Springfield District Court Monday.
The investigation is open and detectives assigned to other house breaks in the immediate area are attempting to tie this suspect to those burglaries, Delaney said.
"The neighborhood did a great job alerting the police of this dangerous suspect," Delaney said. "This should be a reminder to everyone - if you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 right away."
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