GREENFIELD — Prosecutors filed charges this week against a would-be burglar investigators say was caught in the act by the homeowner and held until help arrived.

A Greenfield man told police he came home Sunday morning to find a stranger rummaging through his belongings; but instead of chasing the burglar from the home, the homeowner kept the man inside while dialing 911, investigators said.

The homeowner told investigators he had been away from his residence in the 100 block of American Legion Place since the middle of last week. He returned home just before 1 a.m. Sunday to find the place ransacked and a stranger in his house. He kept the man from leaving and called police, reports state.

Because the home sits across the street from the Greenfield Police Department, officers arrived on the scene seconds after the call for help came in, records show.

Officers found the homeowner outside the residence, blocking the would-be burglary, later identified as Jeremy D. Alexander, 233 E. Main St., Greenfield, from running out the front door, reports state.

When police arrived, Alexander ran toward the back of the residence but was stopped by an officer, reports state.

Officers found a knife strapped to his hip and drug paraphernalia inside one of his pockets, according to police reports. Alexander admitted to having just used heroin, charging documents state.

The homeowner found food left out on the counter and some of his belongings that appeared to have been organized into bags and backpacks left by a back door, police said. Investigators are unsure how long Alexander, who said he came into the house to get out of the cold, had been staying there, court records state.

He admitted he did not know the homeowner and said he came in through an unlocked door; the homeowner said his house was locked when he left, court documents state.

Alexander was arrested and booked into the Hancock County Jail on Sunday. Prosecutors filed formal criminal charges against him Monday.

He faces a Level 2 felony count of burglary while armed with a deadly weapon, along with a Level 5 felony count of unlawful possession of a syringe and a Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, records show.

He appeared in Hancock Superior Court 1 on Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces. Alexander was being held in the Hancock County Jail on a $7,000 cash bond at press time, records show.

He’s expected to return to court March 1.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.