Cortland man failed to properly register as sex offender, police say

A city man was arrested Wednesday on two felonies for failing to properly register as a sex offender and misdemeanor resisting arrest after he led a police officer on a foot chase on Union Street, according to city police.

Matthew Hewitt, 26, who was living at a residence on South Avenue, did not inform police within 10 days of moving to a new home and did not arrive for his periodic photo update, both requirements of staying registered as a sex offender, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.

A warrant was issued for Hewitt’s arrest and police were searching for him Wednesday evening at an apartment on South Main Street when an officer, walking around the back of the residence, noticed fresh footprints in the snow that went over a back fence, Strangeway said.

“(It’s) not your normal route of exit,” he said.

The officer drove his patrol car around to Union Street, where the footprints were headed, and saw a man walking west with the hood of his jacket up, Strangeway said. When the officer asked him to remove his hood, the man ran, he said. The officer leaped out of his car and chased the man, who was Hewitt, on foot, Strangeway said. The chase ended quickly when the officer tackled Hewitt, he said. No injuries were reported.

Hewitt was more than 90 days late for his required photo update at the police department, Strangeway said.

“You have to comply with these things and if you don’t you could be arrested,” Strangeway said, adding the department tries to work with sex offenders as their goal is to have them maintain their registry status rather than face another arrest. “We encourage them every chance we get to comply.”

Hewitt was arraigned Thursday and sent to jail without bail.