Arrest made in burglary of Manchester alderman's restaurantBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
March 21. 2018 12:03AM
MANCHESTER — Officers called to investigate an attempted theft from a Bob's Furniture delivery truck on Beech Street Tuesday evening said they recognized the alleged thief from surveillance video of a Monday burglary at Mint Bistro on Elm Street.
Calvin Degreenia, 32, confessed to the burglary during an interview after he was booked on charges related to the furniture truck incident, police said.
According to a release, officers were called about 5 p.m. to 542 Beech St., where Degreenia was being held by the driver of a Bob's Furniture delivery truck. Police said Degreenia admitted to an attempted theft from the truck, and during a search, officers said they found he had a taser. According to police, Degreenia is a convicted felon and not allowed to have such a device.
AN EARLIER STORY FOLLOWS:
A newly elected alderman whose campaign focused on downtown business owners’ concerns over crime and panhandling got a first-hand look at the problem when his popular Elm Street eatery was burglarized Monday afternoon.
“It’s definitely unsettling, but certainly not too much of a surprise,” Ward 3 Alderman Tim Baines said. “There’s a lot of issues going on downtown right now with the drug epidemic. I think if you walked up and down Elm Street and talked with every restaurant owner they would probably have a story very similar to this, if not some even worse.”
Baines, son of former mayor Bob Baines and owner of Mint Bistro, said staff members were in the 1105 Elm St. restaurant about 11:30 a.m. Monday when they noticed a man they said was acting “odd.”
“One of our guys said he actually talked to the guy, that he was asking about a job,” said Baines. “We reviewed the surveillance video tapes and you can see a gentleman lurking in the back for about 20 to 25 minutes.
“He seemed to be watching the in-and-out patterns of the guys that were in here. When one of them goes downstairs, the gentleman comes in the back, smashes the register and took off through the front.”
The burglary took place during broad daylight, at noon, with hundreds of state, federal and local law enforcement officers just blocks away on security detail ahead of a visit to the Queen City by President Donald Trump.
“It could have happened anytime,” Baines said. “I’m just grateful no one was hurt. If someone had caught him in the act, things might have gone differently.”
Baines has released restaurant surveillance camera images of the man as well as footage captured at nearby Republic restaurant, where a similar individual can be seen about an hour before he appeared at Mint Bistro.
“He walked in saying he was looking for a bathroom, and they walked him out after a bit,” said Baines. “They felt like he was up to no good.”
Baines held two forums earlier this month for downtown business owners to air their concerns with city officials.
“To me, the concerns of the downtown business community reached a boiling point about two years ago,” said Baines. “All the recovery resources that are available in Manchester are located downtown, and that’s spilling over into the downtown, making it a difficult place to do business. I worry — in the 1990s downtown was boarded up, and I feel like we are going to have to make some fundamental changes in terms of protecting the economic vitality of downtown moving forward. I’m certainly going to fight for that.”
Baines said he would like to see more police patrols downtown.
“I feel like in other communities when you are walking around downtown, you feel a police presence there,” said Baines. “I think we need to work together to try and combat the aggressive panhandling. Every store down here has a story or two from the last two years. We had a purse stolen here a couple years ago, and they couldn’t even send someone to come down here because they were just overrun. These are issues that everyone is dealing with on a daily basis.”