PELHAM - Conflicting stories about a loaded handgun that police found in a local teen's bedroom last week has led to felony charges against the teen who possessed the gun and a Salem man who owned it.
Police charged Thomas Reagan Jr., 18, of Pelham, last Thursday with one class A felony count of receiving stolen property after officers found in his bedroom a fully loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol that was registered to Timothy Boissonneault, 23, of Salem.
Boissonneault, a friend of Reagan's, was charged the next day with misdemeanor counts of sale of a handgun to a minor and reckless conduct, in connection with the gun.
According to a statement from Pelham police, the case against both men began earlier in the week with a tip that several people in town were in possession of "illegally obtained handguns" and that more people were attempting to possess the same.
Based on that tip, detectives went to Reagan's residence where they spoke to Reagan and his parents, who allegedly granted them permission to search his bedroom, the statement said.
After finding the pistol in Reagan's bedroom, detectives called Boissonneault and asked him if his gun was missing, Pelham police Lt. Gary Fisher said.
Boissonneault initially told the detectives that he didn't believe his gun was missing but, after a quick check, reported it was gone, Fisher said.
Police charged Reagan with the stolen gun charge, and the next day, spoke with Boissonneault at the Pelham Police Department, Fisher said.
Detectives informed Boissonneault of Reagan's arrest, at which point Boissonneault allegedly told detectives Reagan was a friend of his and would not confirm that his handgun had been stolen, Fisher said.
Boissonneault allegedly insinuated to detectives that he "may have given the gun to Reagan so that (Reagan) could protect himself from others," Fisher said.
According to Fisher, detectives also obtained information leading them to believe that Boissonneault had given the gun to Reagan so he could protect himself from others during the commission of illegal activity.
That information led to the reckless conduct charge against Boissonneault, Fisher said, as well as the sale of a handgun to a minor charge that, according to the law, does not require that an actual sale take place, he said.
Although Boissonneault has been charged with willingly giving Reagan the gun, Fisher said the felony charge of receiving stolen property against Reagan has not been dropped.
"We have enough probable cause to arrest them on the charges based on the stories we were given," Fisher explained.
"We are hoping we will find out which story it is, whether Reagan stole the gun or Boissonneault gave him the gun to protect himself during illegal activity."
Reagan and Boissonneault were each released on personal recognizance bail pending their arraignments Sept. 29 in Salem District Court.
Police believe more arrests may be forthcoming as they investigate "strong leads" regarding local individuals who may be illegally in possession of handguns.
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This article appears in the August 29 2008 issue of New Hampshire Business Review