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Affadavit: Newfields man, an alleged thief, 'had a thing for signs'

Union Leader Correspondent

March 23. 2018 8:29AM
Newfields police said Dwayne Grim had a dozen signs in his possession that are believed to have been stolen from the White Mountain National Forest. (COURTESY)

Dwayne Grim

NEWFIELDS — A Newfields man is suspected of stealing dozens of signs from the White Mountain National Forest, several towns, the state Department of Transportation and other places — along with traffic cones and construction materials.

Dwayne Grim, 49, is charged with one felony count of receiving stolen property, but police say more charges are likely from the investigation launched earlier this year when Newfields Lt. Michael Schwartz first spotted a sign from the White Mountain National Forest leaning against a wall in Grim’s basement.

“Dwayne has a thing for signs,” his wife told police, according to an affidavit filed this week in the Brentwood Circuit Court.

Schwartz said the investigation involves several agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, which is investigating after Grim was found in possession of a dozen signs believed to have been swiped from the White Mountain National Forest.

Schwartz said he had another dozen signs that included street signs and town line signs from the towns of Benton, Easton, Warren and Woodstock.

According to the affidavit, others included signs that read “No stopping or standing,” “Caution: Watch for sled dogs on trail,” “Forest Service Department of Agriculture U.S. Fee Area,” and “Property boundary: National forest land behind this sign.”

Another sign that said “No trespassing: rifle and pistol shooting range” belonged to the Ammonoosuc Valley Fish and Game Club in Bath, the affidavit said.

Grim also worked as a subcontractor on construction sites and allegedly stole materials that included 90 feet of granite curbing from the city of Portsmouth, Schwartz said.

The theft investigation began on Jan. 14 when Grim called Newfields police and asked for an officer to stand by while he picked up some items from his residence at 29 Bassett Lane.

Police said a family member had a protective order against him at the time.

While at the home, Schwartz wrote in the affidavit that he saw the White Mountain National Forest sign and other signs behind it.

After removing his property, Schwartz said he asked Grim if he could explain the signs.

“Grim looked at the signs, paused and said he didn’t want to talk about them,” the affidavit said.

While talking with police, Grim’s wife “pointed to the side of the deck area Grim had used to access the basement and stated that Dwayne must have taken the ADT security sign that she had recently put near the basement door ...,” the affidavit said.

During a follow-up visit to the residence on Feb. 22, Schwartz and U.S. Forest Service police officer Scott Howlett were given permission to walk on a lot adjacent to Grim’s property where they found four state Department of Transportation traffic cones, along with more signs and traffic control devices, the affidavit said.

An 11-foot-long fiberglass boat was also found, which police later learned belonged to a Kingston man who reported that it had been missing since last summer.

During an interview with Howlett on March 9, Grim admitted to taking DOT signs and traffic cones from job sites, the affidavit said.

Six additional traffic cones belonging to Rye Beach Landscaping were allegedly found at Grim’s home.

The receiving stolen property charge filed by Newfields police relates to the alleged thefts of construction material, equipment, the boat, and DOT signs.

Schwartz said the U.S. Forest Service is still investigating and has not brought charges for the alleged White Mountain National Forest sign thefts.

Grim, who is free on $500 personal recognizance bail, was expected to be arraigned Thursday but wasn’t able to attend. The arraignment was moved to April 19.

Grim declined to comment Thursday and said he did not yet have an attorney.

Schwartz asked anyone in the area with items believed to have been stolen from construction sites to contact him at 772-9010.

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