Elderly couple bruised after landlord dispute; dog stolen
HOOKSETT - An elderly couple says their landlords entered their rented home without their consent, stole their dog and then came back for a fight.
Landlords Richard Bernier, 68, and Keri McCallum, 49, of 37 Shirley Park Rd., Goffstown, were arrested and charged with robbery and criminal trespassing by Hooksett Police after they allegedly went into their rented home at 19 Vindale Rd. on Saturday without their tenant's permission.
McCallum is also facing a burglary charge for allegedly stealing a Golden Retriever from the home.
She and Bernier allegedly later returned to the Vindale Rd. property, without the dog, and began arguing with tenants Thayer French, 78, and Sylvia Stokes, 74.
French told NH1 News that McCallum was upset over insurance money she claimed she was owed. French said that McCallum barged into their home, took house keys, and returned to her car. French said when he tried to retrieve them, Bernier caused him to fall on his face.
"He came up behind me and grabbed me around the shoulders and threw me on the ground," French said.
Stokes said McCallum had been their accountant for more than a decade, and was always considered a friend.
But when their former rental home in Webster was destroyed by fire, Stokes said there was a dispute over a renter's insurance claim, and the couples have been arguing since.
This weekend, Stokes said, broke the final straw when McCallum allegedly entered their home without their consent while they were out and took their dog.
"They just reached over, took the leash, hitched up Molly, and stole her," Stokes said.
French said when he and Stokes returned home to find the dog missing, they began a search - and then McCallum and Bernier returned to the home and barged in demanding money.
When the renting couple said they didn't have it, an altercation ensued.
"He grabbed me by my arm, threw me on the ground in here," Stokes said.
Stokes said she called police, who quickly arrived and placed McCallum and Bernier into custody.
But not before both Stokes and French were severely bruised. French also suffered a bloody nose and had to receive stitches.
Visible signs of a bloody struggle remained outside the home Sunday afternoon. French said the landlords' alleged actions terrified him.
"I'm scared of what they might do, because I am sure this incident I am sure is not going to make them go away it's going to make them just madder, you know?" French said.
Nobody answered a knock at McCallum and Bernier's Goffstown home on Sunday afternoon. A call to a phone number listed for McCallum was not returned as of press time.
Police were able to retrieve and return the Golden Retriever unharmed, Stokes said.
Bernier was charged with Robbery and Criminal Trespass and was bailed on $5,000 personal recognizance.
McCallum was charged with Robbery, Criminal Trespass, and Burglary and was bailed on $10,000 personal recognizance.
Both are scheduled to appear in court on April 15.
French and Stokes moved out of the home on Sunday and have relocated to a new town house nearby.