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Maine man indicted for robbery of Laconia Spa

LACONIA — A Limington, Maine man has been indicted for the June 14, 2013 armed robbery of the Laconia Spa convenience store on Church Street.

A Belknap County grand jury determined police presented enough information to justify trying George Sproul, Jr., 20, with one count of entering the store and threatening the clerk with what appeared to be a metal pipe.

Sproul was also indicted by the same grand jury for one count of burglary for allegedly entering the Tamarack Restaurant on Rte. 3 North in The Weirs on July 15, 2013 and for one count of attempted burglary for allegedly breaking the glass window at the Salvation Army Store on New Salem Street with the purpose of committing a theft on July 15, 2013.

Laconia Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that although they were familiar with Sproul during the summer of 2013, he was not initially a "front burner" suspect. He said he believes it was fingerprint evidence gathered by detectives at the Tamerack Restaurant and other evidence that led them to Sproul and some accomplices.

The same grand jury also indicted Sproul for his role in a series of incidents in Alton that occurred on September 26, 2013 that included conspiracy to commit theft for allegedly taking control of a 1996 Ford F250 and a 1987 Honda ATV, of allegedly stealing a .22 caliber revolver, and for accomplice to burglary for allegedly entering a building on Meaderboro Road.

Alton Chief Ryan Heath said the truck stolen and the ATV stolen from his community in September were recovered by the Maine State Police. He said his officers worked with police from Hollis, Waterborough and Sanford and the Maine State Police to connect a series of burglaries in those communities to the Alton crimes.

Sproul was arrested in September by Maine State Police and, according to Maine news agencies was charged with one count of burglary.

Clary said once they were able to connect Sproul to the July crimes in Laconia and once they heard he was being held on cash bail in York, Maine County Jail, one of Laconia's detectives went to interview him in Maine but Sproul was not cooperative.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:20

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Belknap County lawmakers split 10-4 against casinos

LACONIA — While the N.H. House of Representatives yesterday rejected a bill (Senate Bill 366) to introduce casino gambling by a single vote, the 14 of the 18 members of the Belknap County delegation who voted split 10-to-four against the bill

Three of the five Democrats — Reps. Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Davifd Huot of Laconia — voted in favor, together with Republican Dennis Fields of Sanbornton.

One Democrat — Rep. Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — and nine Republicans — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier of Alton, Don Flanders, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia, Michael Sylvia of Belmont and Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith voted with the majority to reject the bill.

Reps. Beth Arsenault (D-Laconia) and Charles Fink (R-Belmont) Bob Greemore (R-Meredith) and Stephen Holmes (R-Alton) were absent and did not vote.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:17

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Police charge Plymouth man sexually assaulted girl at his wife's Laconia day care center

LACONIA — Police have charged a Plymouth man with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault for an incident that allegedly occurred between April 2002 and September 2003 at a daycare business on West Street.

Louis E. Pettingill, 44, of 28 Hancock Street in Plymouth allegedly engaged in a sexual act with a female who was less than 13 at the time.

Pettingill turned himself into Laconia Police and was released on $1,500 personal recognizance bail. He is expected to be arraigned on June 12, 2014.

Det. Sgt. Thomas Swett said the incident is still under investigation. He said the day care center where the offense was allegedly to have occurred has been closed for a while and was an in-home based operation run by Pettingill's former wife.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 01:03

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Clairmont indicted for allegedly starting 3 Laconia fires

LACONIA — Nearly two and one-half months after his arrest a Belknap County grand jury has indicted a former Gilmanton man for three counts of arson.

Jason E. Clairmont, 36, is charged with setting a trio of fires in Laconia — the burning of a Volkswagen Jetta on Academy Street on January 25, the burning of some lattice work on Highland Street on the same night, and the burning of a Volkswagen Beetle on September 3, 2013.

Clairmont was arrested after a string of arson fires that plagued Laconia throughout the fall and early winter.

He was initially detained by police after being spotted by a Gilford Police officer on Highland Street shortly after a fire in the lattice work was reported. Clairmont told the officer he had been bitten by a dog and the officer took him to Lakes Region General Hospital.

Police later released information saying it was Clairmont's own dog that bit him and his girlfriend has brought him to Laconia for treatment. She said she dropped him off in the city but instead of going to the hospital, video tapes of the night of January 25 show him at the Funky Monkey night club on Main Street, at Cumberland Farms convenience store on Court Street, where he bought cigarettes, and later walking up Pine Street toward Highland Street.

Police contend he lit the fire in a car parked on the corner of Bowman and Academy Streets, walked up Pine Hill, lit the fire on 91 Highland Street and then was detained by the Gilford officer who was working surveillance in the city while Laconia Police were investigating the car fire down on Academy Street.

Ninety-one Highland Street is across the street from the hospital.

Clairmont was interviewed by police on January 25 and was formally arrested and charged with three counts of arson on February 5, 2014.

At a probable cause hearing held about 10 days after Clairmont's arrest, 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Divison Judge Jim Carroll ruled there was no probable cause for his arrest for the September 3, 2013 car fire.

Carroll found there was probable cause to continue to grand jury for the January 25 fires and ordered that Clairmont continue to be held on $50,000 cash-only bail.

When presented with the information gathered by police and the Belknap County Attorney, a grand jury found there was enough evidence related all three fires to hold a trial.

Clairmont has told police that it is possible he was accidentally smoking too close to the car on Highland Street and the lattice on Highland Street.

Laconia Police said that the investigations into the remaining city fires, including two at Pitman's Freight Room, one at Christmas Island and one at the former Skate Escape building is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 12:52

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