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Central District police on Friday arrested a 40-year-old man believed to be responsible for several burglaries this summer in the area of Norwood and Ashland avenues.

Detective Timothy McDonald spotted James Thomas walking out of an Ashland Avenue alley near Summer Street around 6 p.m. Friday, he said. The detective quickly realized he was looking at the man countless neighbors had described to police as the neighborhood culprit, he said.

When police arrested Thomas, they found him with a backpack containing a glass pipe with crack cocaine residue and various burglar's tools, according to police reports. Officers Shelly Strobele-Lillis and Colleen Leatherbarrow assisted McDonald with the arrest.

Thomas, whose address is listed on West Ferry Street, is accused of stealing a $700 mountain bike Aug. 12 from a Norwood Avenue home one block from the spot where he was arrested Friday. Police said he walked in through an unlocked door around 2 p.m. and took the bike from the family room.

Several witnesses identified Thomas after police apprehended him Friday, McDonald said. Police have not recovered the bicycle.

He has been charged with burglary, a felony; possession of burglar's tools, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors; and trespass, a violation.

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