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Woburn police find children in minivan fleeing alleged housebreak

After stopping a minivan that was fleeing from an alleged housebreak in Woburn on Friday, police made a shocking discovery in the vehicle -- the couple’s five young children.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Woburn police were notified of a “suspicious man” who entered a home on Mayflower Road, Police Chief Robert Ferullo said.

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When police arrived they found the suspect still inside the home. The man, who police would only identify as a 39-year-old from Danvers, ran from the home and led police on a foot chase, Ferullo said. The suspect discarded his sweatshirt while fleeing.

The man ran for two or three blocks before getting into a green minivan that had been waiting for him. The minivan was driven by his 26-year-old wife, also from Danvers, authorities said.

Officers from Woburn chased the minivan into Lexington, where local police assisted. After a two- or three-mile pursuit, officers stopped the car, only to find the five children, who were all under 7 years old, Ferullo said.

“That was quite a shock,” he said.

Two of the children were in car seats, according to John M. Guilfoil, a spokesman for Woburn police.

The children were being held at the Woburn police station late Friday night and awaiting care from the state Department of Children and Families.

The man and woman, who are married, were arrested and were being questioned by police Friday night. More than $250 of electronics in the form of remote controls were recovered from the man, who had allegedly stashed them in his pockets, Ferullo said.

There is no indication that either suspect used a weapon during the incident, but police planned to check the minivan for weapons as a part of their investigation, according to Ferullo.

It was not immediately clear if the couple have been involved in any other housebreaks. Ferullo noted that there have been a large amount of housebreaks in Eastern Massachusetts recently.

The names of the two suspects will be released on Saturday, according to the Woburn chief.

The man is facing charges including resisting arrest, child endangerment, and breaking and entering during the daytime. The woman’s charges will depend on results of the investigation, Ferullo said.

The two are expected to be arraigned in Woburn District Court on Tuesday. Ferullo said bail would be set, but the amount was not immediately available.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.
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