Police: Home invader ate Oreos,
 snoozed and lurked over children

Matthew Dunham

A 33-year-old homeless man broke into a house in southwest Fruita on Monday, fell asleep on the couch, wrote notes for help in the kitchen, ate milk and cookies, and then woke up two sleeping children to ask for help, according to an arrest report from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew Keith Dunham is suspected of felony second-degree burglary, criminal mischief involving less than $300 and theft less than $50. Dunham appeared before Mesa County Judge Michael Grattan on Tuesday and received a $1,000 cash-only bond.

At 3 a.m. Monday, a deputy from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and two officers from the Fruita Police Department responded to a home in southwest Fruita on reports of an unknown man entering a victim’s home.

The male victim told police that he was awoken by his child, who told him there was a stranger in the house.

According to the report, there was a pair of brown boots located next to the couch, an empty box of Oreo cookies and a glass of milk with cookie crumbs in it on the kitchen table, and a series of nonsensical messages written in permanent marker on paper towels and on the fridge.

The messages, written with a marker that Dunham allegedly took out of a bedroom, included odd messages such as “help 2:43 harmls,” “harmless no clue where I am @t?? Sleep on couch,” and “help harmless.”

A child in the house told police that Dunham was standing over her bed with his hands in the air when she woke up, saying things like “Sir, I am harmless. I need help.”

According to the affidavit, the male victim told Dunham to leave, and when Dunham kept saying he was harmless and asking for help, the man dragged Dunham out of the house.

Dunham allegedly told police that the last thing he remembered was being at a truck stop in Fruita, and that he received $15 after asking for food and water and used the money to buy a bottle of vodka. According to the report, Dunham did not remember anything else until he woke up in the house.

Dunham was arrested and booked into the Mesa County Jail early Monday morning.

In asking for a secured bond, Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle told Grattan that “this behavior alone is very disturbing, and without further information there are real concerns about (Dunham) being in the community.”

Public Defender Tracy Badger asked for a personal-recognizance bond, and said Dunham was seeking mental health treatment, employment and a place to live.

Grattan said while the allegations are not proven, “Mr. Tuttle is right, eating Oreos in someone’s house is disturbing behavior.”

Dunham is set to appear in court on April 28.


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