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Alton man accused in crime spree may be Canada-bound

Union Leader Correspondent

March 01. 2012 3:09PM

WOLFEBORO - An Alton man who allegedly led police on a long chase through town early Tuesday morning, stealing vehicles along the way, was still at large Thursday and may be trying to get to Canada, according to police.

Warrants for burglary, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest were issued Wednesday night for the arrest of Joshua Dearnley, 27, of Alton, according to Wolfeboro Police Detective Guy Maloney.

Police had information that Dearnley, who was identified through use of a convenience store video shortly after he allegedly committed a burglary, was headed for Tilton Wednesday night in an attempt to leave the state, Maloney said.

Police had information that he was headed to a friend's house in Tilton, but Tilton authorities were not able to find him.

"We think he was trying to get to Tilton, whether by hitchhiking or whatever, but we don't think he had access to a vehicle," Maloney said.

Police departments in the central New Hampshire area will be on the lookout for Dearnley, as will state police and police across the country, and he is listed as "wanted" on the nationwide police database system.

In addition, federal officers on the Canadian border have been put on alert. "We have some information that he may be headed for Canada," Maloney said.

Police were called to a home at 37 N. Line Road about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday by a resident who reported that a strange man was in his residence. The homeowner reported seeing the man fleeing from his house.

When they arrived at the home, police found footprints in the snow leading from the house to North Line Road. Soon after, officers found a state Department of Transportation vehicle parked a few hundred feet away. The state vehicle was reported stolen from the Strafford area, Maloney said.

The footprints at the residence matched the footprints near the vehicle, he said. For three hours after the reported burglary, police said they followed Dearnley's footprints through several business parking lots and across the properties of numerous local residents.

Officers found another residence on Allen Road that had been illegally entered, but the suspect had fled. Officers ended that search at 5 a.m., but at approximately 7 a.m. a resident on Beach Pond Road called police to report his vehicle had been stolen. Police believe Dearnley stole that vehicle as well.

Meanwhile, police found security camera video footage of Dearnley crossing the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store located near the scene of the first break-in at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, and then found that the footprints matched the footprints they had been following.

Anyone with information about these crimes can call the Wolfeboro Police Department at 569-1444 or State Police Troop E at 323-3333.

Crime Alton Strafford Wolfeboro