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World War II veteran scares burglar off with cane

An 84-year-old World War II veteran grabbed his cane and yelled at a man who broke into his Salem apartment early Thursday morning, startling the bungling intruder so much that he ran away, according to Salem police.

Leo Gagnon was sitting in his Colonial Terrace apartment just after midnight when a man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt pulled an air conditioning unit out of Gagnon’s window and climbed inside, police said.

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A neighbor saw the man removing the air conditioning unit and asked him what he was doing, according to the report. The man said the burglar replied, “I’m a relative and no one is answering the buzzer,” before entering the apartment.

The neighbor called police.

Gagnon told police that he watched the would-be burglar enter his room and ruffle through a discarded pair of pants looking for a wallet. Gagnon then grabbed his cane and yelled at the intruder, who ran out the apartment’s back door, according to a police report.

The intruder was not caught, but Gagnon told police he does not believe anything was stolen.

Todd Feathers can be reached at todd.feathers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ToddFeathers.
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