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Suspected burglar arrested after falling asleep in Brookline apartment

BROOKLINE — A homeless man looking for a place to stay warm fell asleep on the couch in an apartment he allegedly broke into Thursday morning, thwarting his apparent efforts to make away with two laptop computers, a digital camera, and a bottle of cologne.

In the end, all Evgeniy ­Dolzhenkov was able to steal were a few winks.

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Around 5:15 a.m., the owner of the apartment had a rude awakening: the sight of a stranger sleeping on his living room couch. He began to speak with Dolzhenkov “in order to keep him calm and avoid further confrontation,” according to police.

Dolzhenkov, 41, told the man he had picked the lock on the main door to the apartment complex with a plastic spoon, then found that the apartment door was “not secured properly,” according to a police report of the incident. During the conversation, Dolzhenkov reportedly returned the man’s wallet, $28 in cash, and a set of keys.

When police arrived, ­Dolzhenkov allowed them to search his backpack, where they recovered the computers and camera, police said.

Dolzhenkov appeared in Brookline Municipal Court, where he pleaded not guilty to breaking and entering and trespassing. Bail was set at $100.

Dolzhenkov did not appear intoxicated when he was arrested, although he was carrying a partially consumed quart bottle of beer. Police said they noticed track marks on his arms, but Dolzhenkov told them he had not used drugs “in a while.’’

Under questioning, he told police he got off the bus on Route 9 about midnight and walked up Washington Street to Park Street, looking for a “place to stay warm.’’ He said he found a set of keys on the landing outside the brick apartment complex, then walked upstairs where he ­noticed an apartment door was ajar.

“He pushed the door open and walked in,’’ police wrote in a report on the incident. “He said he was tired, so he wanted to sleep. He laid down and fell asleep. The next thing he remembered is being woke up by the resident.’’

The suspect, a native of ­Kazakhstan, told police he thought the apartment was empty and that he took the computers and other items to sell them.

Dolzhenkov told police he lied to the resident about picking the lock so he would not know he had found the keys.

Dolzhenkov’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Police said Dolzhenkov has a criminal record that includes several property crimes, and three shoplifting charges. In May 2011, he was charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon, according to a published report.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com.
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