Bart Rzepa

May 15, 2015 7:12 PM

Stratham teen who confronted alleged burglar speaks

STRATHAM - A local teenager who felt bad for a man who broke into his house May 8 said on Friday that he thought he was giving the alleged burglar a second chance when he brought him to a nearby gas station and gave him a few dollars.

Bart Rzepa was home after school when he discovered John Wentworth, 26, of Durham, at the bottom of his staircase. Wentworth was holding a safe belonging to Rzepa's brother and was heavily intoxicated on alcohol.

"I was under the impression he was just a confused, homeless drunk guy who had wandered into my home and was looking for a way to get by," Rzepa said.

Rzepa talked with Wentworth, who told him his parents were dead and his girlfriend left him. Rzepa felt compelled to help him out, so he gave Wentworth some money and put him into his Toyota Camry, driving him to Circle K on Portsmouth Avenue.

"I basically told him, 'Hey, man, this is Stratham, New Hampshire. You can't just go walking into people's houses because we all hunt. We all own guns,'" Rzepa said.

Rzepa even suggested Wentworth join the Army to turn his life around. That is when Wentworth told Rzepa he is a felon.

Wentworth is on parole. He served 2 1/2 years in prison for beating Dover man Richard Nolette to death in 2008.

Rzepa went home and discovered that Wentworth had stolen cash and debit cards from his wallet. He called police, and Wentworth was quickly apprehended walking along an on-ramp toward Route 101.

"I was feeling so bad because I was so nice to him, and he turns around and does this thing," Rzepa said.

Even though Wentworth was taken to Rockingham County Jail, he was released on $10,000 bail. Jeff Lyons of the Department of Corrections explained that even though Wentworth is on parole, they cannot automatically keep him imprisoned on the new charge, unless it is found that he violated a condition of his parole.

Rzepa's neighbor, whose house Wentworth allegedly entered first, said she is "terrified" of the man. She did not want to be identified, but said she heard her husband confront Wentworth after he entered their home.

The woman said she was on the phone with her husband when she heard him chase Wentworth out of their house. Wentworth, she said, ran into the woods, and presumably headed to Rzepa's home next.

Wentworth waived his right to a probable cause hearing on Thursday, and is scheduled to appear again before a judge on May 28.


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