Gilmanton man found not guilty of firewood theft

LACONIA — A 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division judge found a Gilmanton man accused of stealing cut firewood from his former business partner innocent of theft by unauthorized taking.
Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon presided over the bench trial of Nicholas Fleming, 34, of 22 Drake Road in Gilmanton and said the state didn't prove 100 percent of its case, finding that Fleming and his former business partner Richard Bergeron didn't co-own the wood.
Gordon said that Fleming and Bergeron were partners, if not by formal decree, and that his understanding was that the proceeds of the wood the two men cut together was split between them according to how much work each man invested into the logging.
Fleming and Bergeron had a physical altercation on December 22 after both men had been drinking. Fleming said he understood that after the argument the partnership was over but said he went to the Gilford site the the next day and took the wood to fill an outstanding order.
When he realized the wood was gone, Bergeron reported it to the Gilford Police who investigated and charged Fleming with one count of theft.
Gordon said Bergeron may have some kind of civil suit regarding the value of the wood taken verses the hours Fleming worked but criminal court was not the place for the matter.