Prosecutors: Phone calls to homes link serial burglar to break-ins
BRENTWOOD — An alleged serial burglar who prosecutors say called his victims to see if they were home testified that he had nothing to do with breaking into seven homes in Rockingham County.
Joshua Fowler, 34, formerly of Sandown and Derry, is on trial for playing a role in the break-ins that happened at homes in Derry, Londonderry and Hampstead between October 2009 and March 2010.
He is accused of either burglarizing the homes on his own, or working as an accomplice.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that a key piece of evidence against Fowler was his cell phone calls made to the targeted homes prior to the break-ins.
“It’s a classic circumstantial case,” Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard told a judge Wednesday.
Judge N. William Delker rejected calls by defense lawyer Mark Stevens to dismiss the seven felony counts of burglary, saying jurors had enough evidence to decide the case.
Fowler was among the last witnesses called to the stand on Wednesday in Rockingham County Superior Court.
He told jurors that he would never commit a burglary.
“I would never do that,” Fowler testified. “My house got broken into when I was a kid and it’s the worse feeling in the world.”
Fowler testified that rather than breaking into homes, he earned his own money driving a delivery truck for a bakery in Haverhill, Mass., and installing tiled floors on the side.
“I was working two jobs at the time and had my tax return of 11 grand,” Fowler testified. “I didn’t need any money.”
But sometimes, he told jurors, he did loan one of his cell phones to a friend, which was later connected to the break-ins.
“I have no reason why that phone would be calling those residences,” Fowler testified. “I was not in possession of it.”
Homeowners and police were called to testify about the stolen merchandise, which included jewelry, a Macintosh laptop computer and a LCD flat screen television.
Blanchard confronted Fowler about the phone calls made to the homes on his cell phone, and trips to pawn shops that Fowler made that year.
Fowler testified that two valuables he sold — a Claddagh ring and a bar of silver — were not stolen but were given to him by his parents.
Blanchard confronted Fowler citing the testimony of homeowners who claimed the valuables belonged to them.
“Anyone can claim anything,” Fowler said. “I don’t see no serial numbers on them.”
A grand jury indicted Fowler in September 2011, but he did not appear in court until May 31 after becoming listed as a “Fugitive of the Week” by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The jury is expected to hear from one more witness on Thursday prior to closing arguments. Fowler has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He faces up to 3 ½ to 7 years in prison on each charge.