BELMONT — A 24-year-old transient, Paul Noyes, is facing felony charges as well as non-life-threatening injuries after allegedly stealing a car in Tilton and later crashing into a utility pole when Belmont police attempted to apprehend him on Thursday.
Capt. Richard Mann of the Belmont Police Department said Tilton police notified them at 10:40 a.m. that a 2005 Nissan four-door sedan had been stolen from the area of Dunkin' Donuts at Exit 20 and was heading toward Belmont on Route 140. An officer took up a position at the Main Street intersection with Route 140 and, within a minute, the stolen car appeared. The officer used lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the driver accelerated north on Main Street. The car veered into the oncoming traffic lane and then crossed onto the sidewalk before crashing head-on into a utility pole.
Officers rendered first aid to the injured man who, although he was not wearing a seatbelt, had been saved from severe injuries by the air bag system. A Belmont ambulance took him to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia for treatment of his injuries.
The car, which had been traveling between 20 and 30 miles per hour at the time of impact, was heavily damaged, but an Eversource crew that checked the utility pole determined that it had not been damaged in the crash.
"We are very thankful no other motorists were injured," said Mann, noting that there was no traffic in the oncoming lane when Noyes crossed over.
Noyes was booked on charges of reckless operation of a motor vehicle and the Class B felony of receiving stolen property. Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24, at Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia.
Mann said that no sooner was the paperwork on the crash finished than police received a 911 call from a woman reporting that an unknown man, possibly armed with a handgun, was inside her home and had stolen jewelry and cash.
Officers from Belmont, Laconia, and Gilmanton responded to the area and interviewed the homeowner who was able to describe the man she had seen running out of the house and into the woods.
Belmont Police K-9 “Vito” and his handler, Sgt. Evan Boulanger, were called in to track the man, while officers from the three agencies established a cordon to lock down the neighborhood and relayed a description of the suspect.
“Vito” led officers north along Route 107 through the snow for about an hour until reaching a home with an attached garage off Route 107 near the Laconia city line. Officers found the man, later identified as Zachary A. Brown, 34, of Laconia, hiding in the garage, and they recovered the stolen cash and jewelry which he had on his person.
Brown is facing a Class A felony burglary charge, along with misdemeanors for criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Noyes was taken to the Belknap County jail to await arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court.
"This was a classic example of how multiple agencies cooperating jointly protect our citizens," Mann said. "Having officers with mutual aid authority ... boosts the numbers of your response team. In this case, we were able to triple the number of officers responding, which was key to being able to effectively lock down any possible escape route and allow the K-9 team to do their job effectively. I am told that 'Vito' received a sweet treat for his successful capture."
– Thomas P. Caldwell