A Gloucester man is facing a breaking and entering charge after allegedly going into a Manchester home Sunday evening while dressed like a pirate, startling a middle-aged woman who lives there.
Herbert J. “Herb” Gleason, 79, of 596 Essex Ave. pleaded not guilty to the charge during his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.
Police were called to a home on Raymond Street shortly before 9 p.m., where they met a 60-year-old woman who had dozed off in front of the television and awoke to find a bearded man, dressed like a pirate, standing over her, asking “Where are my tongs?” in a British accent. He was holding a small dog.
The woman screamed, and the man, later identified as Gleason, left.
A neighbor who had heard the woman screaming got a license plate number from the Dodge Ram truck that he had seen being driven away from the home.
Gloucester police stopped the Ram on Route 133. Gleason, the driver, had a revoked driver’s license, so they put him into custody, then drove him back to Manchester, where the woman identified him as the man who had entered the home, apparently through an unlocked back door.
He was wearing a black shirt and pants, a belt with gold chains and medallions threaded through it, and a black bandanna around his head, police said in their report.
His attorney said Gleason apparently always dresses that way.
His dog was taken by the animal control officer.
Gleason’s lawyer, Thomas Gately, called the situation “a huge misunderstanding.”
He said his client says he was walking his dog on the beach and was looking for his thong-style sandals, which he pronounces “tongs.”
Gately said Gleason poked his head inside a sliding screen door, believing they might be in the house.
Gleason was later taken to Beverly Hospital for an unrelated medical issue. He was arraigned there on Tuesday afternoon by Salem District Court Judge Randy Chapman, who found that Gleason was competent and understood what was happening.
Chapman released Gleason on $1,000 personal surety bond, which means he won’t have to post cash bail unless he misses a future court date.
He was also ordered to stay away from the Raymond Street woman while the case is pending.
Gleason pleaded not guilty to breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, putting a person in fear, a charge that potentially carries up to 10 years in state prison.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 27.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.