Manhunt in Sandwich results in three arrests

Law enforcement officers from several agencies and departments combed Sandwich on Sunday and succeeded in finding three people sought in connection with a reported theft that occurred that morning in Moultonborough.

Moultonborough Police Sergeant Jason Boucher said that the events of the day began with a report of a crime that occurred on Sunday morning in the parking lot of the Center Harbor Christian Church. That incident remains under investigation, and he was unable on Monday afternoon to provide a detailed account of the alleged crime. For example, he was unable to confirm initial reports that a weapon was used during the incident. However, he was able to confirm a couple of details.
“It was definitely a theft, there was definitely a vehicle used without consent of the owner, and they fled the scene,” said Boucher.
The theft was reported at 10:12 a.m., and shortly thereafter a be-on-the-lookout call was issued for a Chevy Trailblazer with three people inside.
Sgt. Shawn Varney with the Sandwich Police Department said he was driving down Wentworth Hill Road and saw the vehicle shortly after he heard the BOLO. He passed a vehicle fitting the description, and when he turned around to follow the SUV, it took off at a high rate of speed, headed toward Moultonborough on Route 109.
Because the road was still wet, Varney could see the tracks the vehicle left when it turned onto School House Road, a road which is currently a dead end, thanks to a closed bridge. With that in mind, Varney called for backup from neighboring towns, and found the vehicle abandoned at the closed bridge. At the vehicle, he found materials he suspects to be illegal drugs.
Searching the nearby area, Varney found Zackarie Brown, 18 of Franklin and 22-year-old Kiersten Gadwah of Penacook in a two-story outbuilding. He said he and another officer were able to smell “freshly burned marijuana” as soon as they entered the building. Brown has been charged with criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance. Gadwah will face the charge of criminal trespass. The two were taken into custody at 11:55 a.m.
It took several more hours of searching to find the third member of the getaway party. Varney had put a post on Facebook, letting the public know that they were looking for an individual in the area, and a townsperson reported seeing a man walking inside the tree line along Route 109. The man was acting suspiciously, carrying three cell phones. Varney caught up with Sean Ipock-Gauthier, 18, of Pittsfield at 3:58 p.m. He has been charged with disobeying an officer, transporting drugs in a motor vehicle, criminal trespass, driving after suspension and reckless driving.
Ipock-Gauthier and Brown were brought to Carroll County Jail, where they posted bail. Gadwah, who had outstanding warrants from Grafton County, was transported to Grafton County Jail, said Varney. The trio are scheduled to be arraigned for their charges relating to their activities in Sandwich on July 20 in the 3rd Circuit District Court in Ossipee.
In the meantime, they should expect further charges stemming from the initial incident in Moultonborough, said Boucher, once that investigation is complete.
Sandwich and Moultonborough police departments were aided by Meredith and Tuftonboro police, State Police, the Ossipee Police K-9 unit, and Carroll County Sheriff’s Department.

End of the bus

Winnipesaukee Transit System discontinues scheduled routes

LACONIA — The Winnipesaukee Transit System will end its regularly scheduled bus routes as of July 1 due to the lack of matching funds from communities it presently serves.
Only Laconia and Tilton, both of which contribute $3,000 a year, are providing matching funds for the program according Belknap-Merrimack Community Action Program Transportation Director Jim Sudak. He said that the program is funded with a $36,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which requires a 20 percent match from local funds.
He said that ridership on the regularly scheduled routes is only 20 to 25 people a day, and that most of those are elderly and disabled people going to medical facilities or shopping centers. Cost is $1 per ride.
Sudak said current users will still be able to obtain rides through the CAP's Rural Transportation Program, a door-to-door service for senior citizens with disabilities. Those rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance by calling 225-3295.
CAP succeeded the Greater Laconia Transit Authority in June 2005. CAP also operates the Concord Area Transit as well as the Rural Transportation Program.
Several years ago, due to a federal budget cut which reduced the Winnipesaukee Transit System grant from $85,000 to $42,400, the WTSl eliminated Saturday service and combined the two Laconia routes into one. As part of the reduction, there was no longer any service from Franklin to Laconia, nor any service to parts of Gilford and Belmont.

Preparations underway for Gilford Airport Plaza upgrade


GILFORD — Survey work has started for the new entrance to the Gilford Airport Plaza, which is undergoing site renovations in hopes of attracting additional tenants under a new name, Gilford Commons.
The state Department of Transportation has agreed to the construction of a 600-foot access road opposite the off-ramp for the Laconia Bypass. The road will serve as an entrance only, with the exit remaining at the current location, onto Old Lakeshore Drive.
The Gilford Planning Board approved the application by WJP Development of Portsmouth in March, conditional upon the receipt of applicable permits from the state.
In addition to the new entrance, plans call for replacing and restriping the parking lot, and GMI Asphalt Corp. had a crew digging up and rehabilitating the pavement on Monday.
WJP also plans to install new lighting and signs, as well as a culvert to handle site runoff to ensure it does not affect the nearby Black Brook.
Ultimately, the company wants to extend the existing building and add one or more pad sites to accommodate other businesses.
Originally opening with Mammoth Mart as its anchor, the Airport Plaza has seen Globe and Family Dollar stores come and go. It’s principle tenant now is Cinemas 8.


05-16 Gilford Airport Plaza

Surveyor's flags near the Laconia Bypass indicate the location of a new access road that will serve the Gilford Airport Plaza as part of the improvements WJP Development has in mind for the property. (Thomas P. Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)