MANCHESTER — Police said they have tied a 37-year-old Manchester woman, currently on parole for theft and burglary convictions, to three recent city burglaries — one interrupted by a homeowner who was later able to pick her out of a lineup.
Nicole Colon, 37, of 58 Warren St., was arrested Wednesday coming out of a West Side drugstore, an apparently stolen credit card in hand along with two items just purchased with the card, police said.
Her criminal resume includes convictions for burglary, theft, drug possession, criminal threatening, even armed robbery, police said in court Thursday. Now, she faces three charges of burglary, two counts of credit card fraud, receiving stolen property, forgery and theft by deception.
She was arrested the week after Manchester police recorded 30 break-ins of homes and businesses.
"It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility she's connected to more," said police spokesman Lt. Maureen Tessier. "If someone is a burglar, they tend to be prolific."
Police got a break in the burglaries when North Street homeowner Colleen Clayton scooted into her driveway on the afternoon of July 3, looking to duck into her house before visiting a relative in the hospital.
There she confronted a woman leaving her breezeway, checkbook in hand. The intruder said she was looking for the Bissell office and muttered something about Clayton's house being open.
"I kept staring at her face. I needed to remember that face, to make a mental note of it," Clayton said. After the woman walked off, Clayton called police and described the intruder.
By Monday, Clayton picked her out of a photo lineup.
Police charged Colon with two other burglaries — 579 Beech St. on July 8 and 279 Laurel St. on June 14.
Hours after the Laurel Street burglary, Colon allegedly cashed a check stolen from the home and later pawned jewelry from the home at a local pawn shop, police said.
Colon allegedly cashed a check stolen the same day of the Beech Street burglary.
She was arrested Wednesday while exiting the CVS store at 432 S. Main St. Police said they believe the credit card she used was stolen, but they have yet to locate the owner.
Colon appeared in Manchester District Court Thursday and was ordered held on $10,000 cash or surety bail. But there is a 72-hour hold on any bail, given her parole on a four- to eight-year sentence for theft, forgery and burglary.
And it's possible authorities could activate a suspended sentence of 3½ to seven years.
Tessier said some burglaries tend to be crimes of opportunity. Other are more professional, taking place after the burglar has walked the neighborhood and targeted homes.
"In the past, we've been used to a male offender," she said. "In general terms, this drug dependency issue can motivate anyone to commit a crime to get drugs."
Clayton said the burglar also got some cash and an iPad, which police told her was traded for drugs.
She said she never felt intimidated by Colon. Once confronting her, Clayton slowly walked backward to her car; Colon never took a step toward her, Clayton said.
"There's a part of me that wanted to stop her from leaving and get her," Clayton said. "But you know what? Just call the cops."
firstname.lastname@example.org New Hampshire Union Leader Staff Reporter Dale Vincent contributed to this article.