OSSIPEE — A former Conway man was sent to prison Friday after pleading guilty to stealing guns and jewelry from his own parents, possessing an illegal drug and committing a burglary in which he stole a woman’s heirlooms.
In all, Paul Smith, 27, of Conway pleaded guilty to three counts of theft; felon in of a weapon; possession of controlled drug, fentanyl; and burglary.
Another set of 26 charges consisting of theft and felon in possession of a weapon were dropped as part of the plea.
For those crimes, Carroll County Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius sentenced Smith to 7.5 to 14 years in prison and also gave him another 7.5 to 14 years of prison time that was suspended for seven years. The restitution owed to his parents will be determined within 30 days.
The alleged crimes took place between Oct. 14-24 at the Center Conway home of Smith’s father, Robert, who reported the guns, jewelry and an air compressor stolen after returning home from a trip to Florida. Prior to his trip, the younger Smith asked his father for money and was denied.
“Then Paul Smith became angry and said he shouldn’t be surprised if when he comes back from Florida all his guns are gone,” said Deputy County Attorney Steve Briden, who gave a brief explanation of each of the charges.
About 14 guns were taken, and fewer than half were recovered, said Briden.
The possession of the controlled drug charge occurred on June 1, 2019, at 1 a.m.
Briden said Tyler Eldridge of the Ossipee Police Department was flagged down by a customer of a gas station who saw a woman “nodding off” in a van. Briden said Eldridge talked to the woman who said she was just tired. However, he also saw some burned tin foil.
Smith was among the people in the van. Eldridge asked to search Smith’s laptop bag and found a bag full of a brown powdery substance that was later found to be eight grams of fentanyl, which Smith said he purchased in Lawrence, Mass.
The burglary with which Smith was charged happened in Eaton. The victim said a wooden chest, a tackle box, a stool, a chair and an old book were stolen. Conway officers were able to review footage of the crime captured by a game camera in the victim’s kitchen.
Police were able to ID Smith as well as suspect Michelle Harris “by both their faces and fairly distinctive tattoos.”
The burglary victim isn’t seeking restitution even though the items haven’t been recovered, said Briden. “She stated that the items where heirlooms and antiques and had significant emotional value to her, but she didn’t have any way to place any potential monetary value on the items that were taken that day,” said Briden.
Carroll County’s Victim-Witness Director Heather Morgan read aloud a statement from Paul Smith’s mother, Bonnie.
“We are crushed by this whole situation,” Bonnie Smith wrote. “We sit here in disbelief that Paul could do this to his own family. I don’t even have the words to express how I feel. Just crushed.”
Paul Smith’s bail was raised to $10,000 on Nov. 19, when he went before Ignatius for a bail hearing.
Assistant County Attorney Thomas Palermo presented an audio recording of a jailhouse phone call Paul Smith made to his mother over the weekend, in which Smith asked her for $1,000 bail money so he could “f-ing run.”
Smith’s mother rebuffed the request, telling him she loved him but jail was the best place for him.