Alert off-duty New Bedford police detective Bryan Oliveira apprehended a man with a long criminal record of burglaries after he witnessed him robbing a home on Church Street near Nash Road Friday morning.

Robert F. Simmons, 48, of 161 Brook St. Apt. 1, New Bedford, was charged with breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, larceny over $250 from a building and carrying a weapon in his possession.

Detective Oliveira, who was off duty, was driving north on Church Street at about 9:54 a.m. when he saw Simmons exiting the front door of a home on Church Street and heard the alarm sound.

Simmons appeared to be holding something in the front of his jacket. Det. Oliveira called dispatch to report that he suspected he had witnessed a break-in in progress.

As units approached, Simmons began running east on Collette Street. Simmons was apprehended and found in possession of miscellaneous jewelry.

He was also found in possession of a folding knife with a blade greater than 2½ inches in length.

When Det. Oliveira returned to the home he had exited, he found a front basement window had been forced open. The front door was also open.

Simmons has a long record. He has 86 adult arraignments and was recently released from state prison after serving an 8 to 10-year sentence for burglary and larceny from a building. Simmons also has 49 prior convictions dating back to 1988. Most of the convictions are for burglary-related offenses.

He was arraigned Friday at Third District Court in New Bedford and held on $20,000 cash bail.

--New Bedford Police

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