Man arrested on drug charge at park that has been target of theft

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MANCHESTER, NH – Justin Pastrana, 29, no fixed address, was arrested Sept. 2 for possession of heroin after police on patrol saw him allegedly smoking marijuana in Wagner Park and stopped to investigate.

Lt. Brian O’Keefe explained that police have become more vigilant in noting activity at Wagner Park 635 Maple St. (also known as Pretty Park) after a recent theft incident on Aug. 29.

In that incident, police witnessed several men dressed in dark clothing fleeing the park, who managed to elude police.  Officers entered the park and located multiple tools along with hardware and downed pieces of bronze fence poles and a section of fencing. It appears the police interrupted a theft in progress. Police were able to take possession of the sixty-year-old fence materials and place them into evidence before the suspects could scrap the expensive material for cash.

This is not the first theft at this particular park. Over the past three years, the Friends of Wagner Park have reported several benches and two additional pieces of fencing stolen. The total replacement costs of the materials taken exceeds $29,000. Matching a 70-year-old item is not an easy task and proves to be costly to the group who manages the park.

In the Wednesday incident, two officers were patrolling Wagner Park at 10:30 a.m. when they witnessed Pastrana inside the park. During questioning, Pastrana denied smoking marijuana and agreed to a search. The officers located one hypodermic needle and a small bag of heroin, and so he was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of controlled drug. Pastrana appeared in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester on September 3, 2015.

O’Keefe said there was no connection between Pastrana and the Aug. 29 attempted theft, but credited the heightened awareness of activity in the park for Pastrana’s arrest.


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About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!