Alex Gutierrez-Hughitt is suspected of breaking into the apartment of his girlfriend's ex on Sunday.

POLICE PHOTO - Alex Gutierrez-HughittWashington County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a man they say broke into the apartment of his girlfriend's previous partner — and later threatened the ex with a metal pipe.

On Sunday morning, May 6, police say Alex Gutierrez-Hughitt's girlfriend wanted to recover items she had apparently left at her old boyfriend's place.

But when the couple arrived, Gutierrez-Hughitt allegedly forced his way in, only to discover that the ex was inside. Police say Gutierrez-Hughitt hit the old boyfriend with a "piece of wood or stick," though the ex wasn't seriously injured.

"There's some dispute over who paid for what," explained WCSO Det. Mark Povolny. "That's super common whenever a relationship ends, (but) you have to dispute that in civil court if you can't come to an agreement."

Police arrived shortly after the alleged assault, but the couple had already left the apartment located near South Alpine Drive and Third Avenue in Cornelius.

Police say Gutierrez-Hughitt returned to the apartment later that day, this time allegedly brandishing a three-foot-long metal pipe. Police responded to the area again and deployed a K9 unit, but were unable to locate Gutierrez-Hughitt.

They say he's suspected of committing the crimes of burglary, robbery, assault, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.

"Alex and his girlfriend made a number of poor choices," Det. Povolny said. "He won't be terribly hard to find."

Police ask anyone who spots Gutierrez-Hughitt to call 9-1-1.

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