Search underway for break-in suspect who escaped SWAT situation in Methuen

METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - Law enforcement officials are searching for a break-in suspect who escaped a SWAT situation that was sparked by a report of an armed man held up in inside a rooming house in Methuen on Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Heavily-armed officers assigned to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council responded to 91 Broadway around 7 a.m. and ordered everyone to evacuate the building, according to the Methuen Police Department.

“Information that we received on the scene was that the subject had possessed a weapon and that there was a concern,” Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon told reporters.

The situation came to an end around 1 p.m. after officials say officers entered the building and failed to locate the suspect, 44-year-old Jouseph Caraballo.

“We searched that building from top to bottom. He’s not there,” Solomon said. “Evidently, somewhere he got out of the building.”

Caraballo is wanted on several charges including breaking and entering, larceny, malicious destruction of property, and possession of burglarious tools, according to police.

Detectives say surveillance video shows Carraballo enter the building, change his clothes, and leave with items from inside before returning to his apartment.

Broadway from Brown Street to Center Street was closed to traffic while SWAT negotiators and officers tried to make contact with Caraballo. Despite hearing movement inside the apartment, there was no answer at his door. It was later determined that he had fled.

Concerned neighbor Terri Abbott told 7News that the building has become the scene of escalating violence and frequent police visits in recent months.

“It’s not safe here anymore,” she said. “Every other week, three or four times, they’re over here.”

As the situation unfolded, 45-year-old Bernabe Gonzales was arrested on unrelated pre-existing warrants.

Caraballo’s current whereabouts are not known to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Methuen police at 978-983-8698.

An investigation is ongoing.

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