Man Accused of Kidnapping Dog in Custody After Standoff

A man accused of barricading himself in a home in Methuen, Massachusetts on Wednesday morning after allegedly kidnapping a dog was taken into police custody.

Authorities said state police were serving warrants at a home on College Lane at about 6:30 a.m. when the man, identified later as 38-year-old Steven O'Neil, fled to the attic.

A SWAT team was called in to assist with the situation and six nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution.

Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon said the warrants for O'Neil were for shoplifting, drug and gun charges, and a probation warrant. O'Neil is also accused of stealing a dog in Nashua, New Hampshire, over the weekend and breaking and entering into a convenience store Tuesday evening in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

Authorities said a woman told officers she tracked her stolen dog to the College Lane home on Tuesday.

"When she got here she called us. We came to the house and she said, 'That’s my dog,'" Solomon said.

Police were able to reunite the dog with its owner, but couldn’t find O’Neil.

It was when they returned Wednesday morning with warrants that O'Neil hid from police. Because police became concerned he might have a weapon, they started evacuations and called in regional SWAT teams.

At 8:45 a.m., police went inside the home and found O'Neil.

"They went to move a piece of furniture, saw his tattoos, shook it, backed out of the room, reached in and grabbed him," Solomon said.

He was then taken into police custody without further incident.

Neighbors said they're not surprised about the police activity, but added Wednesday's response reached a new level.

"We haven’t been evacuated before, but we’ve seen a lot of cops up there," said one neighbor.

Inside the home, police said they saw weapons and merchandise believed to be stolen. Authorities were awaiting a search warrant to seize those items.

Police said O'Neil, who was not hurt, will receive a mental health evaluation before being arraigned at Lawrence District Court on Thursday. He's being held without bail. The exact charges he is facing and whether he has an attorney are unclear.

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