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Pembrook man charged with lying to Belmont officer, driving after being declared an habitual offender

BELMONT — A Pembrook man was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail after giving a police officer a false name after being stopped for speeding on Route 3.

Police affidavits said Troy Zanis, 39, was driving about 49 in a 35 m.p.h. zone at 1:22 a.m. Sunday.

He is charged with one misdemeanor count of disobeying an officer for allegedly lying and one felony count of driving after being determined a habitual offender.

He told the officer he had no identification because he left everything at home.

When asked him name and birth date, Zanis allegedly said said he was "Theodore Zanis" and his birthday was September 6, 1969. The officer noticed he was looking into the sky and when he was asked about it, Zanis told him he was dyslexic.

When the officer asked him how old he was, he said he was 41, which would be the age of someone born in either 1973 or 1974.

When Zanis was asked his social security number, he allegedly admitted that he had been determined to be an habitual offender and that he hadn't had a drivers license in a long time.

When the officer ran his corrected name and date of birth, he learned Zanis was indeed an habitual offender and that he had five warrants out of the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 12:29

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Fire in Sanbornton quickly contained

SANBORNTON – A first-alarm fire at a town fire captain's State Road home was quickly extinguished Saturday at 1:35 p.m.

According to a press release from Chief Paul Dexter, when firefighters arrived they observed heavy smoke in the building and coming from the roof area around the home's two chimneys. The house is the residence of Ben Burlingame, a member of the town's fire department, and his family.

The bulk of the fire was contained to the attic and a wall in an addition to the building.

The family is expected to be able to stay in the house.

No cause for the fire has been given.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 12:32

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2 crashes, one fatality over last weekend of Laconia Motorcycle Week

LACONIA — Police reported two accidents over the past weekend, both involving motorcyclists and one resulting in a death.

At 1:19 a.m. Saturday morning State Police said David Czarnota, 24, of North Reading, Mass. left the west side of Lakeside Avenue near Scenic Drive and crashed. A preliminary investigation indicates speed was a factor.

Czarnota was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

At 1:27 a.m. on Sunday, Horace Joyner, 55, of Rocky Mount, N.C. rolled his Trike-style motorcycle after losing control of his vehicle on Route 106 near Right Way Path. Joyner appeared to be slightly injured but was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital where emergency room crews determined he had a head injury. He was taken by helicopter to an unidentified hospital in Boston for further treatment. The initial Laconia Police investigation indicates alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 12:37

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Case dropped after judge tosses evidence found in unwarranted search

LACONIA — Prosecutors have dropped a drug case after a Superior Court judge disallowed the search of a former Autumn Road man's residence which police entered after they said had smelled unburnt marijuana.

Unable to introduce any evidence gathered in the course of the unwarranted search, the Belknap County Attorney dropped the case against Benjamin Ricks.

Ricks had been held in the Belknap County House of Corrections for an alleged bail violation and he was released Friday after the state dropped the charges.

In a five-page ruling issued Friday, Judge James O'Neill III ruled in Belknap County Superior Court, that the three things that led a circuit court judge to issue a search warrant of Rick's Tilton home were insufficient to sustain the warrant.

Specifically, O'Neill said neither officer had been trained to detect the difference between fresh and dried marijuana, that three-year-old uncorroborated information from a unnamed confidential informant, and the presence of heavy shades or a ventilation system "does not reasonable lead to the conclusion that a marijuana manufacturing operation was being maintained at the residence."

The search warrant and subsequent arrest of Ricks began on Aug. 21, 2013, with an armed robbery of a convenience store on the corner of Route 3 and Lancaster Road which is about one-half mile as the crow flies southeast from the apartment Ricks was renting on 80 Autumn Drive in Tilton.

Police from Tilton, Sanbornton and a K-9 from Gilford converged at the store and began searching for the male armed robber.

As part of the search, Sanbornton Police took the area along Autumn Drive and noticed Ricks who had been riding his ATV along trails in the wooded area of his rented property. Ricks was not wearing clothing similar to that describe to police by the victim of the armed robbery.

The two officers noticed Ricks and began to follow him down the same trail which lead to a small pond and the back of the house where the apartment Ricks was renting was located. Police found an ATV there but said the engine was cold, indicating it had not be ridden recently.

At a suppression hearing held about three weeks ago, the court learned there was signs indicating the property was somewhat posted for privacy. However, the signs were not signed by the owner. In his ruling, O'Neill didn't address whether or not the police had the right to be on the land.

One of the officers said they began knocking on the doors of a few apartments, but testified that he could smell unburned marijuana when he got to within about 15 feet of the house. The second officer said he didn't smell anything until he knocked on the door. No one answered when they knocked, but they said that from their vantage point outside the home they noticed heavy drapes and what appeared to be a ventilation system.

O'Neill determined that neither officer was trained in the difference between smelling fresh and dried marijuana and the presence of the ventilation system wasn't enough to think there was any illegal activities in the house.

The Sanbornton officers relayed their information back to the Tilton Police, and it was incorporated into a search warrant drafted by Tilton detectives.

One of the detectives testified at the suppression hearing that he had information from a source, that was about three years old, that Ricks had been "growing a lot of weed" at his house. O'Neill determined the the uncorroborated information from the source was irrelevant accord to previous case law.

Ricks declined to be interviewed for the story. His attorney, Catherine Costanzo, said he is back a work.

She said the case is concluded, with the exception of getting back her client's two ATVs and $1,400 that was seized by police during the arrest. Ricks has said the money was from his job as an electrician.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 12:16

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