EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 2, 2013

Pelham police: Men could have robbed dozens of homes

PELHAM – An unfolding, two-state burglary investigation is “unprecedented” in the experience of a nearly 25-year police veteran from Pelham.

“It’s unprecedented, I think, when you have an area subjected to 35 burglaries in a short period of time,” Pelham police Lt. Brian McCarthy said.

Those burglaries are in a dozen border communities of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

McCarthy said police don’t yet have a complete tally for the value of stolen goods, but the number is “significant.”

A traffic stop Feb. 18 in Pelham led to the arrests of Matthew Szczechura, 29, of Pelham and Jeffrey Lavoie, 26, of Hudson on burglary charges.

Police announced yesterday they recently had obtained search warrants and completed searching the home and pickup belonging to Lavoie, recovering goods reported stolen in six towns and two states.

Szczechura was believed to have stayed at the home with Lavoie, police said.

Meanwhile, Szczechura and Lavoie appeared in 10th Circuit Court in Salem on Wednesday for a probable cause hearing on burglary charges, waived the hearing and are being held on $10,000 cash bail at the Valley Street jail in Manchester.

The burglaries linked to the investigation were in Lowell, Dunstable, Tyngsborough and Dracut in Massachusetts.

In New Hampshire, the burglaries were in Pelham, Hudson, Windham, Nashua, Derry, Danville, Sandown and New Ipswich.

Windham, Sandown and Hudson police have assisted Pelham in the searches.

McCarthy commended the work of a police task force that identified the suspects, made the arrests and recovered the evidence.

He would not comment on the motive for the thefts because of the pending prosecution of the two men.

McCarthy said they are accused of stealing “whatever they could carry off,” typically high value, small items that could be concealed in pockets or easily transported.

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