MERRIMAC, Mass. — A New Hampshire man was sentenced to a year's probation and ordered to pay restitution Tuesday after admitting a judge could find him guilty of stealing a Church Street resident's birdbath last July.

The man, Randy Estabrook, 26, of Raymond, New Hampshire, said he was drunk when he went into the back yard of a Church Street resident's home around 3:45 a.m. on July 18, and tried to make off with her birdbath. He was arrested near the scene and charged with larceny under $1,200, malicious destruction of property under $1,200 and a previous warrant. The malicious destruction of property charge was filed because Estabrook broke the gate leading to the woman's yard.

During his year on probation, Estabrook must stay out of trouble with the law, stay away from and have no contact with the victim, and pay the victim $295 for the gate and the birdbath.

Merrimac police Officer Jonathan Hewey responded to the Church Street home early on the morning of July 18 after a woman called 911 saying there was a strange man in her yard.

"Once I arrived on scene I noticed a male party wearing a flashlight attached to his forehead. He was walking on the sidewalk ... holding a birdbath and a green garden stake in his hand," Hewey wrote in his report.

Hewey stopped Estabrook and asked what was going on. Estabrook told the officer he was there to do work at the house but when asked to specify what kind of work, Estabrook could not answer. Estabrook then admitted he had three beers while in a nearby cemetery.

"Randy's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet," Hewey wrote.

A few moments later, Hewey learned that Estabrook had an arrest warrant for not showing up at Lawrence District Court where he faces class B drug possession and trespassing charges. That prompted Hewey to handcuff Estabrook and bring him to the Merrimac Police Department for booking, according to his report.

Another Merrimac officer spoke to the homeowner who confirmed the birdbath and stake belonged to her. She also told the officer that Estabrook had damaged her gate to get into her back yard.

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