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'Jack the Snipper' charged with loitering, prowling

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 11. 2017 11:42PM

DURHAM — A former Manchester man known as “Jack the Snipper” is back behind bars in state prison following his arrest last week in Durham on prowling and loitering charges.

Jeffrey Gelinas, 41, currently of Nashua, was given the “Snipper” moniker after being identified as the prime suspect in many break-ins near the University of New Hampshire. The burglar targeted young women in their sleep between 2003 and 2004, snipping off their undergarments before fleeing.

Durham Police Chief Dave Kurz said officers arrested Gelinas on July 6 on prowling and loitering charges after finding him in the woods behind Oyster River Middle School around 3 a.m., sitting on a rock, “with no explanation for being there.”

“Officers were responding to a call reporting a car parked with its engine running around 2:30 a.m.,” said Kurz. “When the car came back registered to Gelinas, let’s just say that caught their interest. That name is known around here.”

According to Kurz, police were called around 2:30 a.m. on July 6 by a resident who reported hearing a vehicle stop and park with the engine running nearby. Police reported locating a truck on Dennison Road registered to Gelinas, but he was not in the vehicle.

A police K9 unit was summoned, who led officers to a wooded area behind the Oyster River Middle School, near several residential homes along Baghdad Road.

“He was just sitting there on a rock,” said Kurz. “He gave the officers no reason for being there at that time of day, and he was taken into custody.”

Kurz commended the resident who initially reported a “strange vehicle” in her neighborhood.

“She thought it was unusual, and called us,” said Kurz. “So many people would have ignored that, thinking it was nothing, but in this case that nothing turned out to be something. Who knows what might have happened that morning?”

Kurz said Gelinas was transferred to the Strafford County House of Corrections, then transported to the N.H. State Prison and is awaiting a parole hearing, Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons said.

Gelinas was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 7 years in state prison in September 2015 for exposing himself in front of an 11-year-old girl at a Salem bookstore. Gelinas pleaded guilty at the time to a felony count of indecent exposure as part of a plea deal with county prosecutors. He was paroled in 2012 having served eight years in prison for attempted burglary. Dover police arrested Gelinas in 2013 for exposing himself to a young girl at a Bed, Bath & Beyond store.

In 2003 and 2004, Durham police had zeroed in on Gelinas as their sole suspect in eight “Jack the Snipper” burglaries. Gelinas was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to a single charge of attempted burglary.

“The reality of it was this was a series of acts that, I wouldn’t want to say paralyzed the community, but was incredibly unsettling for the community,” Kurz told the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2012.

The case drew national media attention. At one point, Durham police consulted with a psychologist, who feared the crimes could progress into violence.

The Snipper never targeted university-owned housing, Kurz said. He accessed off-campus apartments by walking down common hallways and checking doors. He never broke a lock or window, choosing instead to enter unlocked apartments, Kurz said.

Crime Manchester Durham

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