Routine traffic stop nets stolen TVs, other itemsBy RYAN O’CONNOR
Union Leader Correspondent
April 03. 2014 10:07PM
AUBURN - What began as a routine traffic stop turned into an unexpected arrest for Auburn police, who seized a car full of flat-screen televisions and other costly items that had been stolen from the Epping Wal-Mart and Plaistow Home Depot.Detective Sgt. Chip Chabot said 38-year-old Dawn Russo of Manchester was pulled over for speeding around 11 p.m. Friday on Route 101 westbound near Exit 2.
When Officer Peter Lennon approached the vehicle, he noticed three large flat-screen televisions, clothing and other items in the back of the silver Jeep SUV. Many of the items, said Chabot, still had anti-theft wrapping and security devices attached.Russo and her passenger, 29-year-old Hezekiah Mendoza, also of Manchester, couldn't account for where they obtained the three televisions, three chandeliers, Sony sound system and several clothing items, said Chabot.“It was one of your typical low-risk motor vehicle stops, and lo and behold, Officer Lennon stumbled upon something much more significant,” said Chabot. “The items were in plain view, and (Lennon) discovered more criminal activity than he anticipated.”Due to lack of initial evidence proving the items were stolen, the suspects weren't arrested at the time, but the contents of the vehicle were seized.An investigation into the matter revealed the televisions, clothing and sound system were taken from Wal-Mart and the chandeliers were taken from Home Depot. Chabot said video surveillance captured the crimes, though he couldn't provide additional details.The stolen items were calculated to be worth more than $1,500 combined, and warrants were issued Wednesday for both Russo and Mendoza on charges of receiving stolen property, Class A felony offenses due to the value of the items.The same day they were pulled over in Auburn, Russo and Mendoza were each arrested around 1 a.m. and charged with possession of a controlled drug, according to Epping Police Chief Michael Wallace.