Burglar convinced victim he was innocent, got ride away from scene, authorities say

The suspect said his friend used to live there, so he made himself at home - and the unsuspecting victim believed it

Burglar convinced victim he was innocent, got ride away from scene, authorities say
The suspect, 35-year-old Derek Tarbox, was arrested on various charges, including burglary. He is being held on $8,000 bail. (Source: York County Sheriff/WMTW/CNN)

WATERBORO, ME (WMTW/CNN) - A 35-year-old faces multiple charges after a homeowner reported he found the suspect on his couch, watching TV and snuggling his dog, following an alleged break-in to his home.

Derek Tarbox, 35, was arrested Sunday on various charges, including burglary. He is being held on $8,000 bail.

Police say when Michael Pradon and his 9-year-old daughter returned home Sunday afternoon, they found Tarbox sitting on the couch. The suspect was allegedly wearing Tarbox’s clothes and snuggling his dog while watching television.

Pradon was shocked but says Tarbox told such a convincing story about why he was there that he believed him. The suspect allegedly said his friend used to live there, and he thought it would be OK to make himself at home.

Pradon even gave Tarbox a ride to another house that the suspect said was his home. But police say Tarbox’s story simply wasn’t true.

"This is highly unusual the way this unfolded and for the individual to have enough wits to try and almost befriend the victim - the homeowner in this case - and use a story in order to manipulate them,” said Maj. Paul Mitchell with York County Sheriff’s Office.

When Pradon returned home, he noticed his bedroom had been ransacked, the back door had been forced open and some medication was missing. He quickly called authorities.

Deputies and Maine State Police troopers found and arrested Tarbox, who they say was still wearing Pradon’s clothes. They say before the alleged break-in Tarbox stole two cars, ran out of gas in the first and crashed the second.

Tarbox’s charges upon arrest included burglary, unauthorized use of property, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to report an accident by quickest means and theft by unauthorized taking.

"What he did inside the house is unusual, to say the least. It’s not often you get somebody to shower and change into the homeowner’s clothes and then ask for a ride on top of that,” Mitchell said.

Tarbox appeared in court Wednesday. His lawyer says he was just released from Spring Harbor Hospital, a psychiatric facility, and needs professional help.

Copyright 2018 WMTW, Hearst, York County Sheriff via CNN. All rights reserved.