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Aug 3, 2016 6:48 PM

Suspect on the loose in Laconia, two others held on $50,000 cash bail after violent home invasion

NH1.com

LACONIA - Police are still searching for a third suspect in connection to a violent home invasion on Tuesday night, the second such incident in less than a week.

Laconia Police responded to 93 Church Street at about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday for reports of three masked robbers who had broken into a second floor apartment in the building.

"I heard a whole lot of banging, crashing," said James Lawrence, who lives in the unit directly below the apartment that was broken in to. "They're always doing that so I didn't think too much into it until my superintendent came charging down through, then I got involved."

Police said there were two occupants in the apartment when the suspects entered, armed with weapons.

"Once inside the apartment, they confronted one of the occupants brandishing a pistol, pistol-whipped him, and then assaulted both of the occupants inside the apartment before tying them both up with duct tape," said Capt. Matt Canfield.

Once on scene, police chased two of the three suspects, but lost track of them. Later, K-9 units tracked them to another multi-unit house on nearby Howard Street.

Chase Ryan, 21, of Moultonborough and Zachary Estevez, 20, of Laconia were found in the basement and arrested.

This was the second violent home invasion in Laconia in less than a week. Last Friday, police were investigating another invasion at 72 Batchelder Street after three males were found severely injured in the woods near the home. No arrests have been made in the case, but police said the incidents are not connected.

"At this point, it doesn't appear that they're connected," Canfield said. "It appears they're two separate identities, two separate groups of people, but both appear to be very targeted, looking for specific individuals."

Estevez appeared in Belknap County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. Ryan waived his bail hearing. Both were held on $50,000 cash bail. They're charged with armed robbery, nighttime burglary, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery charges, all felonies.

Police say the invasion was not random.

"This was definitely a targeted attack for the occupants of that apartment," said Canfield. "It appears the suspects knew who these people were and knew their purpose for being there."

Police said the suspects stole the victim's sneakers and his wallet with a "significant amount" of cash before fleeing. After issuing a search warrant, they also found a ski mask and a fully loaded handgun in the car the suspects were allegedly traveling in.

Witnesses said the suspects were unrecognizable at the time of the robbery.

"They were all in black," said Lawrence. "Black pants, black shirt, black hoodies. You really could not tell who anyone was."

Canfield said they are following leads regarding the third suspect, but only have a vague description of him, wearing a white t-shirt and gray pants.

"We've increased our patrols and have high-profile patrols out there," said Canfield. "We also encourage the community that if they see or hear something suspicious to call us, maybe before it builds into something bigger."

Police said Tuesday's invasion was drug-related.

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