EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 7, 2013

Police: Intruder with a knife, homeowner with a gun nearly clash

Violence avoided as alarm sounds and man flees

By Shawn Regan

---- — GROVELAND — Police said it was a recipe for disaster: An intruder with a large hunting knife tried breaking into a home occupied by a man with a handgun.

Instead, the incident ended without violence. Daniel Giannatsis, 19, of 20 Wood St., was arrested after police tracked him through some woods with the help of a state police dog.

"The homeowner had a gun and this guy had a knife, so thankfully there wasn't a confrontation inside the home," police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen said of the incident, which happened at a house on Wood Street.

Gillen said officers responded to a call about a home alarm going off at 1:15 a.m. yesterday. He said officers arrived to find fresh footprints in the snow leading away from the home and into the woods.

Police called several nearby departments to help secure the perimeter and then called in a state police canine unit, Gillen said.

The police dog ultimately lead officers to Giannatsis, who was hiding behind some bushes, Gillen said. The officers found Giannatsis with a large hunting knife and a knife holster strapped to his waist, Gillen said.

Giannatsis was arraigned yesterday afternoon in Haverhill District Court on charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime, home invasion, malicious destruction of property and possession of an illegal weapon. He was held without bail, pending a hearing to determine whether he is a danger to the public.

Although Giannatsis also lives on Wood Street, Gillen said it doesn't appear the suspect and the homeowner know each other.

"He didn't give us any explanation (for the home invasion)," Gillen said of Giannatsis.

Gillen credited officers Stephen Petrone and John Lannon and the state police canine unit with excellent work in capturing the suspect.

"Or else we'd have a home invasion with the suspect on the loose," Gillen said.

The homeowner's wife was in the house with him at the time of the attempted break, police said. Wood Street is off Seven Star Road, near the West Newbury line.