SWAMPSCOTT, MASS. (WHDH) - A Gloucester man is facing a raft of criminal charges after police say he broke into more than a dozen vehicles and one house on Christmas Eve in Swampscott — and was tracked down by Santa’s “blue elves.”
Dante Diodati, 27, will be arraigned Thursday on larceny charges stemming from break-ins involving 14 vehicles and one home in a quiet Swampscott neighborhood, according to police.
Todd Flannery said he and his wife woke up to the sound of their dog barking around 4 a.m. and noticed that someone who was rifling through their pickup truck had accidentally hit the horn as he was trying to get out.
That’s when Flannery said he ran downstairs, jumped in his pickup, and followed Diodati down Mostyn Street.
Diodati was arrested moments later after a traffic stop allegedly uncovered numerous stolen items in his vehicle, including a flat-screen TV.
“Our Santa clauses took care of it, Santa elves, the blue ones,” said Swampscott police Sgt. Jay Locke. “It’s unfortunate for this to happen any morning but for people to get up and have to deal with this instead of being with their families.”
As neighborhood residents woke up on Christmas to find that someone had broken into their cars, police linked Diodato to numerous other vehicle break-ins in the area.
Anyone who thinks they may have been the victim of a break-in on Christmas Eve is urged to call police.
Flanner said he considers himself lucky.
“Last night I had all the kids’ gifts in the back seat of the truck,” he said, adding, “We took them out three or four hours before they came, otherwise they would have gotten everything.”
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