KENSINGTON, N.H. — Two Seabrook residents were arrested Saturday after police say they tried to break into the home of an 80-year-old woman.

Andrew W. Welch, 24, of 123 South Main St., was charged with felony nighttime burglary, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance or narcotic and resisting arrest. If convicted of the burglary charge, Welch could be sentenced from 7 to 15 years in jail.

Cassie Randall, 19, of 17 Wortherly Ave., was charged with conspiracy to commit nighttime burglary, possession of a controlled substance or narcotic and possession with intent to distribute.

According to Kensington police, Welch forced his way into the Lamprey Road house around 6 p.m., prompting the homeowner to hide in a closet where she called 911. Kensington and Hampton Falls police responded to the call as the suspects were fleeing the scene.

Kensington police Chief Wayne Sheehan said the burglary was drug-related and it appears the suspects didn't know the house was occupied.

"When people become more desperate, they become more brazen," Sheehan said, adding that when the suspects realized there was someone home, they ran off.

Kensington police and other Seacoast departments are investigating whether Welch and Randall may be involved with another rash of break-ins that have plagued southern New Hampshire communities.

Sheehan said his department has active arrest warrants for three Seabrook residents he believes are part of a large burglary ring centered in Seabrook.

"These two arrests are part of what we believe will lead to more arrests," Sheehan said. "We're going to be very aggressive here."

Saturday's arrests mark the second time in less than a week a Seabrook resident was arrested for breaking into a house. Last Tuesday, Neil F. Barry III, 24, of South Main St., was arrested after Salisbury police say he tried breaking into a house on Folly Mill Road. SClBPolice in Salisbury are investigating whether Barry may be involved with a South Hampton burglary that took place last Monday. Aiding Salisbury police in their investigation are departments from Amesbury, Seabrook, Hampton, N.H., South Hampton and Kensington.

Salisbury police Chief David L'Esperance said the thefts follow a similar pattern. Thieves are dropped off in a particular neighborhood and begin knocking on doors to see who is home. If a house is determined to be empty, the thieves gain entry and scan the house for items to steal

"They gain entry quickly and they're out very quickly," L'Esperance said.

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