A Donald Trump mask was found among other suspicious items belonging to an attempted home invasion suspect who crashed a stolen truck during a high-speed chase in New Hampshire, according to police.
Michael Martel, 30, of Epsom, was arraigned Monday in Laconia District Court on numerous charges, including felony receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and possession of burglar tools.
"We certainly prevented a tragedy that evening," said Barnstead Police Chief Paul Poirier.
Authorities in Barnstead said they received a tip on Sunday that a man was en route to conduct a home invasion for money owed from a drug deal. Shortly after getting the tip, an officer saw the stolen vehicle the suspect was reported to be driving in on Route 28.
He says they got a tip Sunday night that Martel was armed and headed into Barnstead to commit a home invasion.
Soon after that tip, an officer attempted to stop a truck that matched the description of the vehicle the suspect was driving. That's when authorities say Martel took police on a high-speed chase through several towns before crashing into a snowbank in Chichester. He drove at speeds of up to 100 mph during the chase, according to police.
Martel allegedly tried to run, but with the help of a State Police K9, Martel was arrested within minutes.
"We want suspects to know, you can run, you can hide, but we will catch you eventually," Poirier said.
It's what police found after they apprehended Martel that leads them to one conclusion about his intentions.
"We believe he was going there to do some damage, to seriously hurt someone, cause bodily injury, or kill someone," Poirier said.
Authorities searched the stolen truck and found several suspicious items in backpacks, including a Donald Trump mask, four knives, bullets, a drill, multiple bandanas, screwdrivers, gloves, bolt cutters, binoculars, a GPS system and screwdrivers.
"What's very interesting is, obviously, the Donald Trump facemask," Poirier said.
The rubber mask of the president has people talking.
"Maybe he stole that, too," said Vince Lupoli Sr. of Barnstead.
"It's not near Halloween, you shouldn't have a mask," said another resident, Taylor Cote.
Police later learned that Martel had allegedly stolen the truck from a residence in Concord before heading toward Barnstead. Authorities say he did all of this while out on bail after being arrested by state police for allegedly having a gun with a scratched up serial number.
Poirier says Martel was a criminal on a crime spree, finally caught before things turned violent.
"Just the thought that that could've been someone near my home, and I would've been home alone with my kids, that's really scary," Cote said.
"We're just thankful none of our officers got hurt, and just as importantly, no one in the community got hurt," Poirier said. "We certainly prevented a tragedy that evening."
Martel is facing several charges and is being held on $10,000 bail.
The chief is hoping this arrest may help solve a rash of car burglaries in neighboring towns.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Barnstead Police Department at 603-269-8100.