Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Two 'Fugitives of The Week', Two States, 100 Miles Apart, One Day!

Tips Put Both in Handcuffs by U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force

Concord, NH - Two “Fugitives of the Week” were arrested yesterday by the U.S. Marshal’s, NH Joint Fugitive Task Force in matter of only a few hours. First was Michael Masterson, 27, who is a documented gang member, wanted on probation violations and failure to appear for a previously imposed jail sentence, stemming from a burglary conviction. The second was Laura Ritchie, 25, who was wanted by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office for failure to appear on a heroin sales charge.

Michael Masterson was featured just last week as the “Fugitive of the Week.” This media feature led to multiple tips, which pointed to a residence on Collins Road in Ashland, NH. Early, Monday morning, members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, along with officers from the Ashland and Plymouth (NH) Police Departments went to the Collins Road address. Masterson was located inside the residence with his hair dyed blond in an effort to disguise his appearance, he was arrested without incident. Masterson was turned over to local authorities pending his return to the Rockingham County Jail to serve his sentence.

Laura Ritchie was featured as the “Fugitive of the Week” back on April 21, 2015. Ritchie had fled NH and VT to an unknown location in New Jersey. Efforts were continuing to locate Ritchie in NJ, when a series of anonymous tips came in to the US Marshals on Monday morning. These tips indicated that Ritchie had returned to Springfield, VT to visit her mother for the holidays. Members of the NH Joint Fugitive Task Force went to Vermont in an attempt to locate Ritchie. Members of the Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the Springfield (VT) Police Department went to the Ritchie family residence on Paddock Road, where Ritchie was located and arrested without incident. Ritchie was then turned over to the Springfield Police Department and charged as a fugitive from justice on her outstanding Sullivan County arrest warrant for sales of heroin. Ritchie will be held in custody pending her return to NH.

These arrests were made by several members of the fugitive task force, including members from the Strafford, Rockingham, Belknap County Sheriff’s Offices, police officers from the Ashland (NH), Plymouth (NH), and the Springfield (VT) Police Departments, along with deputy U.S. Marshals.

The “Fugitive of the Week” is featured every Wednesday on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Manchester Information, The Manchester Ink Link and prominently featured on the internet. This program has been a remarkably successful tool that has resulted in the location and arrest of numerous fugitives since its implementation in 2007.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 6,089 arrests (Updated as of 7/29/2015). These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

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