Theft of 75 used car batteries nets man 1 year in jail

BELMONT — A local man was sentenced to 12 months in the Belknap County House of Corrections Thursday for being in possession of 75 used car batteries stolen from MetroCast Cablevision on July 17.

Dean LaPlante, 20, of 129 Lamprey Road pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday. A count of breach of bail was not prosecuted.

Six months of the 12-month sentence were suspended and LaPlante was given credit for 12 days served.

LaPlante took 75 used batteries that had been stored on pallets by MetroCast and were slated to be recycled by the company that provides the cable company with its batteries, said Belmont Prosecutor David Estes.

Estes said the batteries are a lead-acid type about the size of a standard car battery and are used to power the cable and phone line grid during outages. He said MetroCast valued each of the used batteries at about $12. A new one, he said, costs the company about $160.

According to affidavits submitted to court by Belmont Police, one of MetroCast's neighbors heard some loud banging outside her window around 1 a.m. on July 17, looked out and saw an unfamiliar pickup.

Police questioned LaPlante and Stephen Cote, 31, of 62 Randlett Drive and Cote told them LaPlante had brought the batteries to his home because he said he couldn't store them at his own.

Estes said the batteries were taken into evidence and are stored at the Belmont Police Station. He said Cote is also charged with one count of receiving stolen property and is scheduled for arraignment in late August.