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Bridgewater police arrest man for string of break-ins

A 46-year-old Bridgewater man was arrested and charged with four of five break-ins at local businesses reportered earlier this week, police said.

Theodore Kernanwas arrested Thursday night, after an off-duty police officer recognized a des cription of his vehicle released by investigators, Bridgewater police said in a statement Friday.

Also on Friday, police also released a video of Kernan allegedly breaking into the drive-thru at a Dunkin’ Donuts. In the video, a man smashes and then crawls through the drive-thru window and steals a cash drawer.

Kernan has been charged with four counts of breaking and entering into a building in the nighttime, four counts of malicious destruction of property under $1,200, and three counts of larceny under $1,200, police said in a statement.

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In their investigation, Bridgewater police reviewed the surveillance footage from the businesses and nearby establishments to identify a possible vehicle used in the break-ins.

Detectives sent out images of a suspect, later identified as Kernan, and his vehicle to law enforcement agencies in the area.

Kernan’s vehicle was described as a “gray Mazda 6 sedan with front-end damage, a spare tire on the front passenger’s side and a long strip of black duct tape on the front bumper and hood.”

At 5:20 p.m. Thursday, an off-duty officer noticed a vehicle that matched that description. He notified officers and followed the car to Kernan’s house.

When officers arrived at the house, they spoke to Kernan and determined he was responsible for four of the five break-ins. His vehicle was towed to the Bridgewater police station, and a warrant is being sought to search it.

Bridgewater police on Thursday issued a warning to the community after five businesses, including the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center, were broken into in a span of three days .

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At about 9:10 a.m. Monday, separate break-ins were reported at the Salvation Army and Bridgewater Auto Wash. Money was stolen from both businesses, and forced entry was reported at the Salvation Army, police said in a statement.

Kernan was not charged in the break-in at the Bridgewater Auto Wash, police said. That break-in remains under investigation.

At 10:40 a.m. that day, an employee at King Garden restaurant reported forced entry and stolen money from the restaurant, according to the statement.

On Wednesday at 3:15 a.m., employees at a Dunkin’ Donuts reported that someone broke into the building overnight. Video surveillance showed that at about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday , a man smashed a drive-thru window and then crawled inside. He stole “an undisclosed amount of cash” and fled the store, according to the statement.

The man was described as a “while male, wearing jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt and a black hat with white lettering on the front,” police said.

At 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, police were notified of a forced entry break-in at Bridgewater Farm, police said.

Bridgewater Police Chief Christopher Delmonte said in the statement that it’s unclear if the break-ins are related.

“But we are asking people to remain vigilant and if you see something, say something,” he said.

Anyone with information relating to the break-ins is asked to contact Bridgewater police at (508) 687-0914.


Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewstanton.