Heated dog food caused Belmont fire

BELMONT — Fire Chief Dave Parenti said yesterday that the cause of the fire that gutted a mobile home on Lamprey Road on August 11 was dog food.

Parenti said that apparently a mouse or a squirrel was taking food from the bag of dog food the family kept near the furnace and storing it on top instead.

"The heat from the furnace must have dried the food to the point where it caught fire," Parenti said.

The man who lived there with his family told Parenti that every time he took a shower he smelled something sweet but couldn't imagine what it was.

"It was the dog food cooking on top of the furnace," said Parenti.

Parenti added that something like this is a "one-in-a million" kind of event but "go figure".

He said he was just grateful that the man and his young son were able to get out of the home safely and that no one was hurt in the fire.

Angel Flight brings retired state trooper back to New Hampshire

EPSOM — One week after the fund-raising started for an Angel Flight, retired N.H. State Police Sgt. Cheever "Chuck" Newhall is safely back home in New Hampshire.

Retired New Hampshire State Police Executive Major Dave McCarthy, who began the online fund-raising campaign, said yesterday that Newhall arrived from Florida yesterday and is staying in the Epsom Healthcare Center where they kept a bed open for him while his friends raised the $18,000 for his special flight.

"My heart was proud to see the names of all the people (who contributed to Newhall's GoFundMe page) to come out of the Laconia area," said McCarthy. "These were the people Chuck worked with and lived with."

McCarthy said that about 95- to 98-percent of the people who donated were from former and current state police officers, area police officers, and friends who are in the Lakes Region.

Newhall, who served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines, was a police officer in Laconia and then with the state police, has Parkinson's Disease and recently suffered a medical setback while recovering from knee replacement surgery.

His wife Sandy said that she was unable to care for him alone in their Florida home and wanted to return to New Hampshire so she and Chuck could be closer to their family — including Belmont Fire Lt. Mike Newhall and his children — their grandchildren.

She said Medicare funds for nursing home care had been exhausted and the goal is to help him get a spot in the Tilton Veterans Home.

No Laconia e-mail addresses revealed in cheating site hack

LACONIA — While e-mail addresses bearing the domain names of several cities and towns in New Hampshire have been found among the data from Ashley Madison. the website matching spouses seeking extra-marital affairs that was recently hacked, City Manager Scott Myers said last week that Laconia is not one of them.

Myers said that the address domains found include the cities of Manchester, Nashua and Dover and town of Milford, which has prompted officials to direct their information technology departments to investigate whether municipal employees have used government e-mail accounts to reach the website.

Two men charged with weekend Emerald St. burglary appear in court

LACONIA – Two men were in court yesterday to face charges that they allegedly entered a woman's home at 1:10 a.m. on Sunday. The pair are being held on $3,000 cash-only bail despite an argument by a public defender to dismiss the case.

Public Defender John Bresaw argued yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division that the affidavit submitted to the court to support cash bail for Kevin L. Gobeil, 20, of Plymouth contained no information that he was one of two men the homeowner woke and saw in her house.

The victim, a resident of Emerald Street, called 911 and told the dispatcher that the two fled when they realized she was awake. She told police one man was white and the other was "darker skinned."

Gobeil, 20, of Plymouth and Michael P. Regan, 31, of 6 Arch Street Apt. 1 in Laconia are both charged with burglary.

Complaints against both men charge them with burglary with the intent to commit theft. By definition, in New Hampshire burglary is a Class A felony if it is committed at night and if someone enters an occupied structure without invite with the intent to commit a crime - such as theft.

Bresaw argued that "white and male" was not sufficient information to arrest Gobiel without a warrant. According to police affidavits, the first responding officer said he heard sounds coming from a heavily wooded area about 300 feet from the victim's residence. He said he got out of his cruiser and announced, "Laconia Police with a K-9, come out with your hands up or I will send in the dog."

The officer said Gobiel came from the tree line with his hands up. When asked, affidavits said Gobiel told the officer that he saw the cruiser and jumped into the woods because he had drugs on him. When questioned about the drugs, the officer wrote in his affidavit that Gobiel seemed confused by the question.

Affidavits said the officer found a backpack and one black and white shoe near the wood line but Gobiel said they were not his. He also told them he was alone.

After a N.H. State Police dog and handler arrived, multiple officers went into the woods and found Regan lying in the mud. He was wearing one black and white shoe and affidavits said he told police the backpack was his. He allegedly said he fell in the mud and hit his head on a rock. He refused medical treatment. Affidavits said he was wearing dark shorts and a dark T-shirt that matched the description given by the woman of the second male.

Bresaw argued Gobiel's arrest failed to meet the standard of "probable cause" for an arrest because there was no identification of his client by the victim and no facts to support the burglary charge.

"At best, we have criminal trespass," Bresaw said.

Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer argued the charges satisfied the probable cause standard for arrest because the victim said she saw two people and two people were found in the immediate area, that he lied to police about being alone and that the shoe and the backpack were directly in the tree line from the house.

Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon ruled that there was probable cause for the arrest without a warrant noting that police are not determining guilt. He said there was sufficient basis for them to reasonably believe that he was committing the offense of burglary and there was "no doubt" that he was in the home because of where and what time he was found.

"In this case it appears the two were in the house at 1 a.m. and were not invited guests," Gordon said, denying Bresaw's motion to dismiss the charges.

Regan initially appeared without an attorney. A bail hearing for him will be held at 10 a.m. this morning.

Gobiel also faces one misdemeanor charge of breach of bail and Regan also faces a second charge of breach of bail.