Aug. 18-AMESBURY - A local man accused of breaking into a woman's apartment while carrying a knife and snake Monday was released on $500 cash bail following his arraignment in Newburyport District Court.
Jeremy Gage, 29, of Friend Street was arrested about 7:15 p.m. on Monday and charged with breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony/person in fear, threatening to commit a crime and disturbing the peace.
While awaiting trial, Gage must stay away from the woman and her apartment and must not abuse her. He is due back in court Sept. 30 for a pretrial hearing.
During her argument for bail Tuesday, Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte said Gage broke into the victim's apartment "apparently armed with a snake and a knife."
"A what?" Judge Peter Doyle asked, caught off guard by the prosecutor's statement.
Standing in the prisoner dock, an exasperated Gage said the snake was a "harmless" 4-foot-long corn snake.
"I'm sure it didn't look harmless to the person," Doyle responded.
To which Belmonte added, "Or the police."
Corn snakes are not venomous.
Amesbury police Officer Travis Tremblay responded to a Friend Street apartment building about 7:15 p.m. on Monday after receiving word that someone was trying to kick in the door of a neighbor's apartment and threatening to kill her.
Tremblay entered the apartment building along with Officer Neil Moody and Sgt. David Noyes. Tremblay spotted Gage running down a stairwell on the third floor. Moody and Noyes grabbed Gage on the second floor and handcuffed him.
"In Jeremy's left hand was a snake," Moody wrote in his report. "I could not tell if the snake was real or fake. I asked Jeremy if the snake was real which he stated it was. He was ordered to drop the snake and walk towards me. He was then placed in handcuffs until we could figure out what was going on."
Tremblay, who was on the third floor, spoke to the woman. She told him Gage was pounding on the front door and accusing her of ripping off his friend.
The woman then opened the door and ordered him to leave. Instead, Gage pushed his way through the door and entered her apartment.
The woman was able to push him out of the apartment and close the door. That's when Gage threatened to "kick down the door and (expletive) kill you," Tremblay wrote in his report.
In addition to a snake, Gage was carrying a large folding knife at the time of the break-in, according to Tremblay's report.
Court records show Gage has a lengthy criminal record dating back to juvenile court.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.