EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 27, 2012

Man charged in Phillips break

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — A man accused of breaking into the Shuman Admission Center at Phillips Academy said a school official “scared the crap out of” him when the man caught him inside the locked building, according to court documents.

Darrin Oneil, 47, of 37 Elmira Ave., Newburyport, was arrested Friday after a police chase ended in Newburyport, according to court documents.

Oneil was charged with larceny over $250, malicious destruction of property over $250 and breaking and entering into a building during the daytime with intent to commit a felony. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges at his arraignment Monday and is being held on $2,500 cash bail ahead of a Dec. 20 pre-trial conference.

On Friday at 2:13 p.m., Phillips Academy Admissions Director William Leahy called police, reporting that he “heard crashing that sounded like it was coming from upstairs” in the Shuman Admissions Center, according to a report by Andover Police Officer Benjamin Ledwell.

After seeing a pane of glass knocked out of an outside door to the building, Leahy was about to call security when he saw someone inside. When that person saw Leahy, the man said, “(expletive), you scared the crap out of me!” The man then ran from the building and left in a vehicle registered to Oneil, Ledwell wrote. After calling police, Leahy went inside and found an employee’s office was broken into. A laptop computer valued at over $250 was missing from the employee’s desk, according to Ledwell’s narrative.

Police pulled a photo of Oneil from Registry of Motor Vehicle records and asked if he was the man Leahy saw. Leahy told police he was “about 80 percent sure that’s the guy I saw. It was dark inside at the time.”

Police put a call out to surrounding towns and the Mass. State Police to keep an eye out for Oneil’s vehicle. North Andover police later found it by Routes 114 and 495 in Lawrence, at which point the vehicle fled onto Route 495 northbound, according to police.

The car was stopped in Newburyport by state, Amesbury and Newburyport police. Oneil was arrested and brought back to Andover, where he was booked on the charges.