SALEM, N.H. — What started as a shoplifting call Friday afternoon ended with the arrest of three Lowell residents on drug charges.
Police received a call from Home Depot just after 3 p.m. for a reported theft of copper fittings, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday.
The suspects had fled the store, but loss prevention workers were able to describe them and the car they were traveling in.
Police stopped the vehicle on Rockingham Park Boulevard. They didn’t find any copper, which had been abandoned in the store, but they did find plenty of drugs, including heroin, suboxone, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Patten said.
“It was personal-use quantities,” he said of the drugs, “including a couple of full syringes.”
The crime isn’t that unusual, he said.
“We’ve been experiencing a surge in precious metals and copper theft over the last couple of years,” Patten said.
Such material is easy to sell for “decent” money, he said, usually to get money for illegal drug purchases.
“A lot of times it’s easier to steal from abandoned houses, buildings, job sites,” he said. “It’s the ease of theft and the ability to get rid of it as well.”
The value of the copper fittings was in excess of $100, he said.
The driver, 38-year-old Tige Dyer, was charged with operating after suspension, possession of a controlled drug (heroin) and possession of a controlled drug in a motor vehicle.
A passenger, Jennifer Botzos, also 38, initially lied to police about her identity, Patten said. She was held on $1,500 cash bail on three charges of possession of a controlled drug, one each for heroin, Suboxone and marijuana. She also is charged with willful concealment and false reports to law enforcement. Botzos also had an active warrant, which Patten said he believed was for theft-related charges.
The other passenger, Breanna Montbleau, 23, was held on $1,000 cash bail on charges of possession of a controlled drug (heroin); possession of a dangerous weapon, a switchblade; and possession of a controlled drug (marijuana). Montbleau, too, had an outstanding warrant, which Patten said he believed was a New Hampshire warrant related to theft charges, too.