Police investigators have found cut telephone wires in a series of suburban burglaries, a technique they say is the trademark of convicted killer Bernard C. Welch.

Welch, who was arrested in his Greensburg, Pa., apartment Wednesday morning, is a suspect but has not been charged with any of the burglaries, Allegheny County police said.

Police speculate that he used the Pennsylvania Turnpike, five miles from his home, to travel to the more affluent communities.

McCandless Township Police Chief Patrick McCabe said wires were cut in at least eight burglaries.

Welch, 45, escaped in May from a federal prison in Chicago, where he was serving a 143-year sentence for the 1980 murder of Dr. Michael Halberstam, a Washington cardiologist who was slain during a burglary.

Police said Welch cut the telephone wires outside Halberstam's house to prevent anyone from calling police.

In Hampton Township, Sgt. James Hughes said a handgun stolen from a doctor's house on June 30 was found in Welch's apartment when he was arrested.

"Let's put it this way," Hughes said. "He had in his possession several items that were taken in this burglary, but we can't prove he broke into the house."

Police and federal investigators confiscated about $500,000 worth of stolen property from the apartment.