CHELMSFORD (CBS) – Chelmsford police say a key piece of evidence has helped them identify a home burglary suspect – the keys to his own apartment.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Joel Nieves, 28, of Lowell, on charges of armed burglary.

Police said that on June 28 a resident returned to his Littleton Road home to find his sliding glass door opened. As the man called 911, police said, the suspect approached and threatened to kill him. The suspect fled the home after the man swung a flashlight at him.

A black backpack was found at the home containing items belonging to the resident in addition to a set of keys that did not. Police said they believe the suspect had returned to the house to retrieve the backpack when he was surprised by the resident.

A local locksmith determined that some of the keys belonged to an apartment complex in Lowell, where Nieves lives, police said. Police also learned that Nieves had been arrested by Lowell police recently on multiple larceny warrants.

Police said Nieves is a career criminal with an extensive record, including a history of home invasion and breaking and entering.

A woman living at the apartment that matched the keys confirmed Nieves occasionally stays there and his name was on the apartment mailbox, police said.

Nieves is no longer in custody and police are looking to arrest him and charge him with the Littleton Road break-in.



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