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Man involved in armed robbery in Tilton in 2010 may end up in prison after all

LACONIA — The Belknap County Attorney Office has asked a judge to impose a suspended sentence on a former Franklin man who was convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in Tilton in 2010.

Joel Meads, 33, now of 23 Butler Ave. in Lowell, Mass. is facing a 3 1/2 to 8 year sentence in the N.H. State Prison for threatening an employee of Market Basket with a knife during a robbery that occurred in Tilton on January 15, 2010 at 10:25 p.m.

According to paperwork obtained from the Belknap County Superior Court, following a hearing to amend his sentence, held in 2013, Meads was released on parole on June 27, 2013 under the condition that he lived in a sober-living facility, pay restitution to the victim and completed a drug and alcohol evaluation.

Two years of his sentence was suspended pending his adherence to court's conditions.

Asst. County Attorney Adam Woods motion to impose the suspended sentence alleges that Meads failed to make any restitution payments, that he  tested positive for morphine while being supervised by a Massachusetts parole officer, and that he failed to successfully complete his residential program.

In addition, Meads was charged by Nashua Police on November 20, 2013 with one count of theft by unauthorized taking.

According to affidavits filed by police in Hillsborough County Circuit Court and subsequently in Belknap County Superior Court, Meads had taken a job with a company that cleans carpets.

On November 20, 2013 police responded to a Nashua home for a reported theft of jewelry. The owner of the home told police that he had stayed home from work so he could have his carpets cleaned but that he didn't maintain constant supervision of the employee.

He said the emploee, later identified by police as Meads, left his home at 2 p.m. About three hours later, the victim got a call from his assistant saying she had gotten a phone call from a Lowell pawn shop and that someone had tried to pawn a medical school graduation ring that had his name on it.

The pawn shop employee refused to pay for the ring and had refused to return it to the man who was trying to sell it. The pawn shop employee also kept the man's driver's license and told him he was notifying police. Police described him as an acquaintance of Meads.

The pawn shop employee researched the victim's name from the engraving and called his New Hampshire practice to see if the ring was legitimately being sold. After the victim was notified, the victim checked the bedroom and reported his ring and his wife's ruby and diamond bracelet and a string of pearls were also missing.

Nashua police tracked back the man's driving license and he told them that Meads had asked him to pawn the jewelry for him, telling him he would split the money.

The man told Nashua police he accompanied Meads to one pawnshop where they gave him $100 for the bracelet but refused to take the ring. Meads insisted his friend try the pawn shop across the street, the friend told police, and that it was at the second stop that the pawn shop employee confiscated his license and the ring.

The man told Nashua police that when he returned to the car without the ring, the money or his license, Meads allegedly told him to tell police he lost his license. The man also allegedly told police that Meads accused him of lying and refused to split the $100 bracelet money with him.

The victim had an appraisal for $3,650 for the bracelet. He told police his wife's pearl necklace was a gift from her grandmother and he didn't have a value for it.

Nashua police recovered the bracelet. Meads' friend told police he didn't know anything about the pearls.

After police traced the alleged theft back to Meads, they called him for an interview in December of 2013. They say he denied any involvement in the theft and became very nervous when he was asked about his friends. He left the police station.

On March 12, 2014, Nashua Police obtained a warrant for Meads's arrest.

Meads is scheduled to appear Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Belknap County Superior Court for a hearing on the motion to impose the original sentence. Parole Officer Serene Eastman also submitted notice that she would be notifying the N.H. Parole Board regarding his recent arrest.

Meads is being held in the N.H. State Prison according to the online inmate locator.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 July 2014 12:09

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Local GOP activists with Tea Party leanings not amused by Havenstein

BELMONT — When Walt Havenstein of Alton, one of two Republican candidates for governor, addressed the Belknap County GOP Committee this week, Skip Murphy of Gilford, co-founder of the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition, made clear he intended to draw blood, not dump tea.

A retired colonel in the Marine Corps who served as the chief executive officer of BAE Systems of Nashua, Havenstein has been branded the candidate of the "establishment" by the insurgent conservative wing of the party backing. In particular, his candidacy has drawn harsh criticism from the contributors to Granitegrok, the conservative online blog that Murphy co-founded.

After Havenstein finished speaking, Murphy, asked him to apologize for referring to "teabaggers" while speaking to students at the University of Maryland in November 2010. Havenstein's remark was captured on a video that aroused the ire of the Tea Party as well as those Murphy called the "9-12 groups, constitutionalists and libertarians," many of whom favor Andrew Hemingway of Bristol, his rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Wearing a yellow T-shirt emblazoned with the Gadsen Flag, Murphy, began by saying "I think you know what my question is going to be based on the shirt I am wearing." He explained that "teabagger" was "a very derogatory term" coined by Anderson Cooper of CNN that became "very popular" among opponents of the Tea Party.
Left unsaid was that "teabaggers" refers to aficionados of a specific technique of oral sex.

"Not only did you use that same term — teabagger," Murphy continued. "We also watched your body language and as you said that a rather large smirk came across your face." He reminded Havenstein that since the video appeared a number of those on the "conservative wing of the party" have sought an apology only to hear "a poor choice of words in a statement to the (Manchester) Union-Leader." He said that the campaign has ignored approaches from Granitegrok. Likewsise, he charged that Havenstein shunned requests for an apology at the annual picnic hosted by the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers last week. Then Murphy asked Havenstein if he would apologize, not only to those in New Hampshire, but "those you have railed against across the country."

"No," Havenstein replied as he drew closer toward Murphy, "and I'll tell you why. I did not know the nature of that word when I used it. Frankly," he continued, "I was giving credit to the Tea Party in that talk for the extraordinary changes that were about to come as a result of the election the day before. For me to apologize," he concluded, "for something I had no contextual reference for is inappropriate and I can't do that."

Murphy countered that in light of Havenstein's position in the defense industry and political arena he found hard to believe that he would not understand the connotation of the term. Furthermore, he told Havenstein "you body language sucked in that video. The smirk that was on your face told lots of people you knew exactly why you were saying that."

Havenstein repeated that he was speaking about the Republican success in the election and the activists who made it possible and insisted that "to draw any conclusion other than what I've just said is inappropriate." Many in the room applauded his rejoinder.

"I don't believe you," said Kevin Leandro of Gilford, who added "there isn't a Tea Party. It is the conservative wing of this party. You're not getting my vote."

Meanwhile, Bill Baer of Gilford, best known protesting the assignment of a novel he deemed obscene to his ninth-grade daughter at Gilford High School, questioned Havenstein about his commitment to the Republican Party platform. Havenstein acknowledged that he is "a right-to-choose Republicans" and was not opposed to same-sex marriage, but otherwise subscribed to the remaining 16 principles of the platform.

Although something of sideshow, the exchange reflected the rift in the ranks of the GOP which overshadows the gubernatorial primary. Earlier this week the Granite State Poll, conducted by the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, found that both Havenstein and Hemingway "continue to be unknown to most New Hampshire residents." The poll of 669 randomly chosen adults, including 509 likely voters, found that 88-percent knew too little about Hemingway to offer an opinion and 86-percent responded the same to when questioned about Havenstein. Both GOP candidates trailed incumbent Democratic governor Maggie Hassan by margins approaching two-to-one.

Both candidates have eight weeks of summer remaining until the primary on September 9, a week after Labor Day, to build name recognition. Hemingway, who served as chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and ran unsuccessfully to chair the Republican State Committee, has a committed following among the most conservative element of the GOP, which has a disproportionate impact in primary elections. Havenstein, on the other hand, finds his support at the center of the party and even among undeclared voters casting ballots in the Republican primary. This primary promises to test the strength of the establishment and insurgent factions of a divided GOP.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 12:21

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Acccused purse snatcher in more trouble, this time over missing bicycle

LACONIA — A local man who was charged with purse snatching on Tuesday ran afoul of police again Wednesday when he was charged with receiving stolen property and breach of bail.

Joshua Fox, 33, of 918 North Main St. was allegedly in possession of a bicycle that didn't belong to him.

Police affidavits said they responded to 918 Main Street after someone reported a theft. The complaining witness said she had seen Fox riding a bicycle that she knew belonged to a different person.

When police spoke with the bicycle owner, he said he didn't give Fox permission to use it.

A short time later, the bicycle owner called police to tell them Fox had agreed to return it.

When questioned, Fox allegedly told police the owner's daughter had given him permission two weeks ago to use it and he had been leaving it in the woods. The owner said that wasn't true and that the bicycle had been in his basement just a few days before Fox was allegedly seen riding it.

Affidavits also said the Fox allegedly told the victim that he had been in trouble with the police earlier in the week and would not be sticking around for trial. He said he was going to live with his aunt in Florida.

On Tuesday, Fox allegedly tried to steal an elderly Lakeport woman's pocketbook but was chased down by one of her neighbors and apprehended by a police officer near the Circle K (Irvings).

Fox appeared yesterday in the Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division and was ordered held on $200 cash bail. As of 6 p.m. yesterday, Fox had not posted bail.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 12:12

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Local police departments urged to equip officers with anti-opiate

PLYMOUTH — Law enforcement and emergency medicine intersected yesterday at a symposium sponsored by the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid at Plymouth State University. About 100 police officers, physicians, and EMT/Paramedics met to discuss opiate and heroin addiction and the possible use of the drug Narcan by law enforcement.

Narcan is an opiate antagonist — a drug that can reverse the effects of opiates and potentially save the life of a person who is overdosing. It has been used for years by emergency medical responders.

With what Nick Mercuri, the chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and others, including U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte have described as an "epidemic" of heroin and opiate overdoses in New Hampshire, some police departments in other states have equipped their police with doses of the drug.

The day began with LRGHealthcare emergency room physicians explaining how opiates and other drugs effect brain function, how usage turns into addiction, and what addiction does to the brain.

Doctors also spoke of predispositions to drug abuse through genetics as well as exposure to drugs at a young age and how casual and social uses often leads to addiction.

Dr. Paul Racicot spoke at length about marijuana, saying while its impossible to know how many people who smoked marijuana as youths didn't become addicts, the evidence shows that nearly every drug addict that eventually seeks treatment or comes to the emergency room with overdose or withdrawal symptoms has smoked marijuana — often as young as age 10 or 11.

"We get frustrated that pot is not considered a gateway drug," Racicot said, dismissing the argument that thousands of Americans are incarcerated for possession of minor amounts of marijuana.

He also said the medical industry is challenging the 1980s concept that every person's pain has to be relieved, describing that decade as the time in American history that pain clinics and "pill mills" became fashionable and inadvertently paved the way to today's heroin and opiate "epidemic."

He said the data shows that many of those who become addicted to heroin began their relationship with opiates because of an injury that required pain killers.

Increasingly, he said high school male athletes are testing the waters of opiate use by stealing them from unused prescriptions from their family members. He noted that many young women who become drug addicts are initially exposed to drugs there by their boyfriends.

As the pain killers become too expensive or as doctors refuse to refill prescriptions, the newly addicted turn to cheap and available heroin and eventually crime to support their habits.

"Your brain hijacks you," explained one physician while another added that addiction can destroy a person's moral code and make things like drug dealing and stealing acceptable to the addict.

Ground zero is where opiate addition intersects with law enforcement and the judicial system.

As the rates of deaths from heroin and opiate overdoses in the state rises, yesterday's symposium organizers provided the above clinical and psychological information to test the waters to learn if area police departments would want police officers to carry and administer Narcan to those who have overdosed.

According to , Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride) is the safest drug EMTs carry.

Now available in nasal form, officers in departments that choose to use it don't have to worry about needles or injections. Like CPR, the goal is to keep the person breathing and his or her airway free until emergency medical responders arrive.

Narcan is an opiate inhibitor and can almost instantly reverse the effects of heroin or opiate addiction. Mercuri said it was administered 832 times in New Hampshire in 2013.

For a variety of reasons, police departments are hesitant. Some worry about liability. Yet others worry about training, paperwork, and storage.

Det. Sgt. Tom Swett represented the Laconia Police Department at yesterday's symposium and said that on a scale of 1-to-5 — with five being very likely to support officers carrying Narcan — he was a three.

"I was a three going into the meeting and I was a three coming out of it," he said.

"We need more information," he said, saying he still has a lot of unanswered questions.

Many of Swett's concerns about Narcan are administrative. He doesn't know if the nasal spray can stay active if it sits in a police cruiser that can reach 120 degrees on a hot day or goes below freezing in the winter. He questioned how much paperwork, certification and training would be involved. He has some concerns for costs and for medical reporting requirements currently required by emergency medical responders but not police.

He said that Laconia's approach toward heroin and other opiate addiction is three-fold — prevention, enforcement, and treatment. There is some desire on the part of some members of the City Council to budget an additional amount of money for a community outreach coordinator who would shepherd the "three-pronged" approach advocated by city police.

"It's not a single sector issue," he said.

He said if the decision is made for Laconia Police to carry Narcan it will be done the right way and likely in coordination with the fire department.

"Once we take on a mission, we will do it," he said. "And we'll have to do it at 100 percent."

Speaking generally, Swett also noted that different police departments have different needs. In Laconia, he said, the fire department provides full paramedic services 24 hours a day, seven days a week that in some way offsets the need for city police to carry Narcan.

"The response times (for paramedics) in the city are terrific," he said.

He said a smaller, more rural community with an all-volunteer fire department would have different fire department response times that could make the first responding police officer, either a local or state police officer, the only person on the scene of an overdose for a while.

Tamworth Police Chief Daniel Poirier said he would definitely carry Narcan if it was an option.

"It's another way to save a life," he said, likening it to defibrillators in cruisers and CPR training that police officers have.


CAPTION: Dr. Paul Racicot of LRGHealthcare and the Nathan Brody Chemical Dependence Program speaks about marijuana being a gateway drug at a symposium about drugs, opiates, heroin and the drug Narcan sponsored by Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid at Plymouth State University yesterday. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 12:07

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