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Massachusetts' Most Wanted Fugitive Captured in Cottage Grove
Massachusetts State Police Office of Media Relations
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Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Lane County Sheriff's Office (8/19/08)
MICHAEL T. BRESNAHAN, one of Massachusetts' Most Wanted fugitives, was captured Monday night after he tried to outrun police along a railroad track in Cottage Grove, Oregon, culminating an intense manhunt by Massachusetts State Police, United States Marshals, and local police in Oregon. The arrest of the 36-year-old BRESNAHAN comes nearly a year after he terrorized and sexually assaulted a 61-year-old woman after forcibly entering her home in Winchendon, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts State Police had shifted their search for BRESNAHAN to the Pacific Northwest after he was spotted in a Springfield, Oregon Wal-mart, and later on Interstate 5, on the night of August 2nd. BRESHAHAN was again featured on the television program "America's Most Wanted" on Saturday, August 16th. A day later, on Sunday, viewers of the television show recognized him after he allegedly stole beer from a Safeway convenience store in Cottage Grove, Oregon. US Marshals verified that the beer thief was BRESNAHAN by viewing footage from the store's security camera, and then began blanketing the town with wanted photos of the suspect. Marshals and local police also began an intensive search of forested areas around Cottage Grove because BRESNAHAN had purchased camping equipment in the Wal-mart on August 2nd.
On August 18th, Cottage Grove Police Department received a tip that BRESNAHAN had been spotted walking along railroad tracks in that town. At 5:49 p.m., Cottage Grove Police Officer Carlos Jones, who was off-duty, heard over his police radio about the latest BRESNAHAN sighting and drove toward the tracks in his personal vehicle. Officer Jones spotted BRESNAHAN walking south on railroad tracks near Lane and Douglas avenues in Cottage Grove and called for other officers to assist him. As Cottage Grove police officers began to converge on the area, BRESNAHAN started to run northbound on the railroad track and then east on Villard Avenue, over the tracks. Officer Jones, still pursuing in his personal vehicle, caught up to BRESNAHAN, exited his car, and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint as other officers arrived and handcuffed the suspect.
BRESNAHAN was booked by the local police and will be arraigned as a fugitive from justice. He will eventually be returned to Massachusetts, where he will be arraigned in Worcester County.
BRESNAHAN was wanted for breaking into the Winchendon home of his victim, a former school teacher, early on the morning of August 30th, 2007. Armed with a knife, he held her against her will for more than two hours while assaulting her. Based on evidence gathered during a subsequent investigation, Winchendon Police obtained an arrest warrant for BRESNAHAN out of the Winchendon District Court. Soon after, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section began searching for BRESNAHAN.
BRESNAHAN's arrest was the result of a cooperative, multi-agency law enforcement effort that involved the Massachusetts State Police, the US Marshals Service, the US Forest Service, the Office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, the Winchendon Police Department, the Oregon State Police, and the Springfield, Oregon, and Cottage Grove, Oregon, Police Departments. Police noted the assistance of the general public and the media in generating tips throughout the manhunt for BRESNAHAN, who was featured on the national television program "America's Most Wanted" and on numerous local media outlets in Massachusetts and Oregon.