A member of the Road Dawgs Motorcycle Club was found not guilty of theft by a judge in Concord, New Hampshire this morning. Jonathan Evans admitted that he and four other members of the club repossessed a Road Dawgs cut hanging on a mannequin in the Pepper Defense Supply store in Concord 15 months ago.
The repossession of motorcycle club indicia is typically described as “grand theft” in racketeering indictments. If somebody is wearing the insignia when it is repossessed prosecutors usually add a kidnapping charge. But this case is different because the Road Dawgs is a cop club with chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Minnesota and Washington. The club was founded in 1995. Evans is a police sergeant in Hill, New Hampshire.
A Dissenting View
Last year the store owner, a man named Brian Blackden, described the incident like this:
“On May 21, 2011 I was the victim of a robbbery of a vest hanging on a mannequin in my store. The 5 men who participated in and the two women with them who observed the robbery were/are likely law enforcement officers who may belong to the Road Dawgs MC (as they were all wearing Road Dawg Vests). The investigation has taken over three months and still no arrests. It has the unfortunate appearance that if someone has law enforcement authority they are above the law, or the law at least slows to a trickle as far as going after the ‘bad’ guy. Interesting is that one of the original members of the Road Dawgs in NH is a State Police Lieutenant. Also interesting is that the NHSP shift commander under the Lt’s command denies Troopers are members of the Road Dawgs but when one checks the Secretary of State filings, some Road Dawgs officers are connected to the NH Department of Safety. It seems like Wanna Be Bad Boys on the weekends and above the law during the week. Reality is it seems they are nothing but thugs with badges.”
Sergeant Evans said that a club brother and Bedford, New Hampshire police officer named Gary Norton actually took the cut then handed it to him. Norton was also charged with theft. He shot and killed himself last May shortly after the charge against him was filed.
Post Trial Comment
After the trial, Evans told the Concord Monitor that the patch repossession “got all blown out of proportion.” Evans testified today that he took the cut to the Concord police within an hour of taking it from the store which apparently made the act legal. The court ruled Evans did not possess the cut long enough for him to be guilty of theft. Evans said he was simply retrieving club property and that “We were just trying to solve it without involving the legal community,”
Blackden testified that he bought the vest at a storage locker sale and that he knew the original patch holder. He called Concord police as soon as the Road Dawgs left his store. He complained that it shouldn’t have taken Concord police a year to file the theft charge and questioned why only two of the five Road Dawgs were charged. “If it had been the Hells Angels or anyone else, they would have been arrested within hours by a Swat team,” he told the Monitor.
Blackden has a little history with Granite State Police. He works part time as a press photographer. He has sold photographs to the New Hampshire Union Leader. Belsito Communications, a news agency in New York, list him as a correspondent and he drives around in an old ambulance with “1st Responder News” painted on the sides. In August 2010 New Hampshire Police seized his camera while he was attempting to cover an automobile accident in Canterbury, New Hampshire. At the time he was wearing a fireman’s coat and helmet with the word “photographer” painted on the sides.
Blackden sued the state police and was subsequently charged and convicted of impersonating emergency personnel for wearing his hat and coat at the crash. He hasx appealed the conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.