By Lisa Redmond

MediaNews

LOWELL -- A 45-year-old would-be thief, who was allegedly caught red-handed in a Gershom Avenue home, tried to escape by jumping out a window and then hoping a fence, police said.

But Jose Alvarado's undoing was a trash bag he left behind.

Lowell police allege that Alvarado, who is known to collect bottles and cans for recycling cash, always carries a trash bag. A trash bag was found at the scene of the house break Wednesday.

With that information, Lowell police were able to put together a photo array, which included Alvarado's mug shot which the victim used to identify Alvarado as the intruder.

In Lowell District Court Thursday, Alvarado, 45, of 103 Bowers St., apt. 7, Lowell, pleaded not guilty to one count of breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony.

Prosecutor Phil Chen sought $500 cash bail noting Alvarado goes by a number of aliases and has 17 court defaults on his record. But defense attorney Christopher DiBella said his client, an unemployed carpenter, denies any involvement with the crime and nothing was stolen.

The 27-year-old Gershom Avenue victim told police that he knew something was wrong when he came home Wednesday evening and found the rear door unlocked. As the victim entered his home, he saw that his bedroom door was initially wide open, but then watched as it slowly began to close. When the victim tried to open the door, it was locked. The victim used his key to unlock the bedroom door and saw Jose Alvarado jumping out the bedroom window empty-handed, according to Lowell police.

The victim ran after the intruder but lost him when he hopped over a fence. The police were called. They were given a description of a short male wearing long, black pants, "loose,'' skinny and with scratches from all of his escape gymnastics.

Police interviewed a man who stated he has seen the would-be thief in the area collecting bottles and cans out of trash cans and large trash containers. He was known for his trash bags.

Police arrested Alvarado after he was discovered on Bowers Street. When interviewed by police, Alvarado allegedly admitted to the Gershom Avenue break in, entering the home by breaking a window. He allegedly admitted he didn't steal anything because his theft was interrupted.

Police noted in court documents that on July 19, another residence on Gershom Street -- two houses away -- there was a break-in while the occupant was sleeping. When asked about that housebreak, Alvarado allegedly denied it and started to say the occupant was at home, asleep, but then stopped, police said. He has not been charged with that crime.

If he should make bail, Alvarado was ordered to stay away from the Gershom Street home from Wednesday's break in.

Alvarado's next court date is Aug. 2 for a pretrial conference.

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