Fugitive caught after FBI spots fingerprint disparity during Hooksett booking
On Jan. 24, Hooksett Police arrested a man after he allegedly attempted to steal a desktop monitor, cardboard boxes, a large dog bed, and a hat from the Walmart on Commerce Drive. Walking past the checkout lines and to the door with his cart, he was stopped by loss prevention and subsequently detained by officer Muzafer Aku. The man, who had no identification, gave his name as George Burpee, 61, of Allenstown, providing a Social Security number and an address. All of this information checked out with the driver's license information for a George Burpee.
He was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail and was set to be arraigned Feb. 27.
On Jan. 25, however, Detective Caitlin Rebe got a notice from the FBI: the man's fingerprints didn't match Burpee.
Rebe, the State Police, and the FBI compared prior arrest photographs. They were able to determine that the man was 53-year-old Richard William Hamilton, wanted by State Police on an active felony warrant for a "failure to report" parole violation, as well as on four felony charges of check forgery in Epsom.
Hamilton had been placed on house arrest in July 2011. In early 2012, he was placed on "escape status" after he cut off his ankle bracelet and disappeared. Burpee was Hamilton's roommate in Allenstown. Hamilton had been using his information to avoid capture.
He was arrested "without incident" in Allenstown by Hooksett and New Hampshire State Police.
Plaistow Police arrested Hamilton on Jan. 21 on shoplifting charges. He gave Burpee's information to them as well. According to Plaistow Police, the FBI did not tip them off on Hamilton's true identity, and they had not heard of the discovery until a reporter's inquiry. Plaistow Police confirmed that Hamilton was the man they had arrested.
"The failure is, we talk about local, federal, and state agencies sharing information, but that isn't happening," said Plaistow Police Lt. William Baldwin. "We had him in our hands He could've gotten away."
The delay for Plaistow may have been a question of technology. According to Rebe, Hooksett Police uses a fingerprinting system called Live Scan, which automatically sends prints directly to the FBI. Plaistow Police use the ink-and-pad method.
Hooksett Police will charge Hamilton with identity fraud, obstruction of government administration and two charges of willful concealment. He is being held at New Hampshire State Prison. Other aliases Hamilton has used include Albert Baroser, Albert Barrows, and Steven Valido, all with different Social Security numbers and dates of birth.