BRENTWOOD — A Portsmouth man is heading to prison after stealing from about 20 vehicles on the Seacoast during this year’s Super Bowl and tossing some items in the trash at a church.
Nicholas Harnden, 24, has pleaded guilty to charges he and a juvenile stole items from vehicles last February that included a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, which was taken from a vehicle in Newfields.
As part of a plea agreement, Harnden was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison and will have to perform 50 hours of community service and pay restitution. He was also given a 2- to 6-year prison sentence that was deferred for two years. Harnden was also ordered to seek mental health and substance use treatment while in prison.
In addition to the handgun theft, other items swiped from a vehicle in Stratham on Feb. 6 included a Coach briefcase, sunglasses, eyeglasses, a Bose headset, a fitbit, cosmetics, books, rings clothing, checks, a laptop and modem.
Harnden also pleaded guilty to stealing purses, wallets, bags, electronic devices, credit and gift cards, and other items from vehicles belonging to 17 different families in Rockingham County.
In court documents, Assistant County Attorney Nicole Mazur wrote that after the night of thefts Harnden and the juvenile drove to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portsmouth to discard items they didn’t want in a Dumpster.
A missionary with the church provided police with a thumb drive that was recovered from a purse along with other items.
After accessing the thumb drive’s contents, Mazur wrote that Newfields police Lt. Michael Schwartz determined that it belonged to a Newmarket woman who had already reported that her purse was stolen from her vehicle while it was parked in her driveway on the night of Feb. 5.
The pair admitted to stealing from vehicles in Exeter, Newfields, Newmarket and Stratham, authorities said.
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