AMESBURY — A New Hampshire man who tracked down a Linwood Place woman on the internet and arrived at her home unannounced with “ice cream, champagne and condoms” was arrested Tuesday night after police responded to a 911 call.
Jeffrey Barnes, 72, of Nashua was arrested about 8:30 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, according to Newburyport District Court records. The motor vehicle charges stem from Barnes allegedly driving around police cruisers and almost striking at least one officer.
At his arraignment Wednesday in District Court, Barnes was ordered held on $1,000 cash bail — an amount Barnes told Judge Allen Swan he would not pay. Swan also ordered Barnes to stay away from the victim, her home and her son.
“This behavior is so frightening and disturbing to the commonwealth and the victim,” Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte said as she argued for cash bail.
Belmonte said Barnes had previous encounters with the victim, prompting her past employer to obtain a “no trespassing” order against him.
“It’s unusual for a 72-year-old man to show up at her home with ice cream, champagne and condoms,” Belmonte added.
Barnes then demanded to speak on his behalf. Swan strongly suggested otherwise, reminding him that Belmonte could use his words against him in court. But Barnes shrugged off Swan’s advice and admitted he was on the victim’s porch that night.
“I knocked once,” Barnes said.
Barnes went on to rail against the Amesbury police officers who arrested him, quoting Benjamin Franklin and Oliver Wendell Holmes in the process. He then told Swan he would rather stay in jail than post bail. Barnes’ next court appearance, via video conference, is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Court records state the victim’s teenage son was home alone when he heard someone knocking on the door. Barnes began talking to the teen through a window and said he was looking for the boy’s mother. He told Barnes that she was not home, so Barnes walked toward his car.
The teen called his mother about Barnes, prompting her to call 911. By the time police Officer Shawn O’Brien and Sgt. David Noyes arrived, the woman had returned home and was comforting her son.
Noyes then saw a car without headlights on coming toward him.
“I don’t know how the vehicle squeezed by our cruisers as they were blocking most of the street. I attempted to flag down the vehicle as I illuminated it with my flashlight and yelled to the driver. The driver drove past me and then came to a stop and stuck his hand out the window and stated ‘It’s me, I’m the one you’re looking for,” Noyes wrote in his report.
Noyes went on to write that the street was “busy with pedestrians and the manner in which Barnes drove his vehicle placed everyone in danger, including myself.”
Still in his car, Barnes told Noyes that he was bringing the victim ice cream and showed him two containers.
“I also noticed a box of condoms in his door, flashlight in the center console and an unopened bottle of champagne on the rear seat floor,” Noyes wrote.
Noyes soon learned the victim had dealt with Barnes while working at a previous job and that her former employer had issued a “no trespassing” order against him after he caused problems there. The victim told Noyes that she had no relationship with Barnes at all.
“She was visibly upset that he came to her home and talked to her child,” Noyes wrote. “I asked him how he found her and he told me he looked her up on the computer.”
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.