COVERT — In what was called a dangerous situation at times, an Ithaca man who allegedly broke into three occupied homes in this Seneca County town — and was held at gunpoint by one homeowner — was arrested early Thursday morning after a large-scale search.
Leandre D. Lovett, 29, was charged by the sheriff’s office with felony counts of burglary, criminal possession of a weapon, and grand larceny. He also faces misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and petit larceny.
Sheriff Tim Luce said his deputies responded just before 5 a.m. to a Route 96 residence after a 911 call for a burglary in progress. Police were told the suspect fled into a wooded area and possibly had a gun.
Police set up a perimeter in the area and the 911 center sent out an alert for nearby residents to shelter in place.
A second burglary was reported at a nearby residence while deputies searched the area. The suspect allegedly stole a handgun at that scene and tried to steal a vehicle.
Sheriff’s office Lt. Tim Thompson said help came from state police, Tompkins County sheriff’s deputies, Ithaca police, and Trumansburg police.
“We put a lot of boots on the ground and canvassed the area,” he said.
Thompson said shortly before 8 a.m., Lovett broke into another house in the area but was held at gunpoint by the homeowner. Police responded, took Lovett into custody and recovered the gun he allegedly stole; Thompson said it was found by a sheriff’s office K-9 unit.
“This was a very fluid and dangerous situation at times,” Thompson said. “It was definitely a traumatic experience for the people who live in this area.”
According to media reports, Lovett was arrested in 2014 for a string of burglaries in the Ithaca area. Thompson said Lovett was on parole at the time of his arrest Thursday.
Lovett was taken to the Seneca County Correctional Facility for arraignment and remanded without bail.
“This was a great example of teamwork and the relationship we have with other law enforcement agencies in our area,” Thompson said. “This was a big operation and I want to thank all the agencies that helped. This could have turned out much worse.”
Luce said Covert residents who saw any suspicious activity or have more information related to this case are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office criminal investigations division at (315) 220-3240.