BRENTWOOD — A former Newfields man who had been accused of having a stash of stolen signs, traffic cones and construction items at his residence has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
A Rockingham County Superior Court judge gave 50-year-old Dwayne Grim a one-year suspended jail sentence Monday after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property.
Newfields police initially arrested him last year on a felony-level receiving stolen property charge, alleging they recovered more than $1,500 in signs, construction materials and a boat.
However, the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office reduced the more serious felony charge to a misdemeanor relating only to some granite curbing that was found in his possession and was believed to have been stolen.
According to Newfields police Lt. Michael Schwartz, Grim also had signs from White Mountain National Forest and others that included street signs and town line signs.
Grim worked as a subcontractor on construction sites and is now living in California.
Schwartz said Tuesday the U.S. Forest Service is still investigating and that he expects Grim will face charges for the alleged White Mountain National Forest sign thefts.
Assistant County Attorney Audriana Mekula-Hanson confirmed that “with regard to the signs, the remainder of Mr. Grim’s alleged criminal conduct is currently being investigated and possibly prosecuted by federal authorities.”
During the investigation, Newfields police reported finding $866 in traffic cones, signs and traffic control devices from the state Department of Transportation; $784 in signs from the U.S. Forest Service; $1,254 in granite curbing, steel conduit and PVC conduit from Kevin Roy Builders; a $300 fiberglass boat belonging to Kingston man; $166 in traffic cones from Rye Beach Landscaping; a $50 town of Benton street sign; and a $21 no trespassing sign from the Ammonoosuc Valley Fish and Game Club in Bath.
Schwartz said he was surprised to learn that the felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor as part of the plea deal.
Mekula-Hanson insisted that a misdemeanor charge was appropriate given the circumstances.
“When considering the appropriate sentence for someone, we look at the person’s criminal history and facts of the particular case as well as any other issues such as mental health or substance abuse. Here, based on his criminal history and his willingness to pay restitution at the plea, the state reduced the crime to a misdemeanor and recommended a suspended sentence to the court. It is the state’s position that this sentence was reasonable given the facts and circumstances of this particular case,” she said.