Published Date Written by Gail OberLACONIA — With the trial for one of three local men charged in connection to the theft of seven handguns from a Gilford man looming, the state has decided not to prosecute him for receiving stolen property — a .357 handgun.
Justin Franquie, 20, whose last known address was 12 Winter St. in Laconia, was indicted for accomplice to theft and falsifying physical evidence for allegedly burying the safe from which the hand guns were stolen in a fire pit at the home of a Gilford man. Jury selection for Franquie is scheduled for Monday morning in Belknap County Superior Court.
Ryan Tuttle, 22, of 23 Saltmarsh Pond Road in Gilford was indicted by the same Belknap County grand jury for one felony count of falsifying physical evidence and one misdemeanor count of being an accomplice to theft.
Andrew Soboleski, 20 of 107 High Street was indicted for seven counts of theft for allegedly taking the seven handguns from his grandfather's safe, one count of theft for taking the safe, and one count of burglary.
The cases against Tuttle and Soboleski are ongoing.
According to police affidavits submitted by Belmont Police and a motion to suppress the evidence filed by Franquie lawyer, David Bownes, officers were notified by a caller on September 22, 2011 that Franquie was threatening people inside a home at 33 Northbrook Road in Belmont with a .357 handgun.
When police arrived, they announced themselves and ordered everyone in the house to come out with their hands up. Franquie was one of those who exited the home. All four people who came from the home said no one else was inside. All denied knowledge of a firearm.
To make sure the house was clear and for what they said was the safety of everyone, a Belmont officer entered the home and did a visual search. He saw a two tinfoil bowls with burnt residue in them in plain sight on a table in the bedroom. The officer left the home and requested a search warrant that included looking for drugs and paraphernalia in one attachment and a firearm in the other attachment. The search warrant was granted.
Police found the .357 handgun in the trailer and the victim said last week that he was called to the home in Belmont and had identified it as his.
In his motion to suppress the handgun as evidence, Bownes argued that when the Belmont Police entered the home the first time, there were no exigent circumstances or probable cause to violate the expectation of privacy.
The Belknap County Attorney argued that because the caller to the Belmont Police was so specific about his description of the gun, that because drug residue was found and judge allowed the second search, the court should rule in favor of keeping the gun in evidence.
On Wednesday, in what was scheduled to be a hearing on the motion to suppress the gun, the prosecution said they were going to drop the charge against Franquie for receiving stolen property.
The victim said that the .357 is the only gun recovered so far.