LEWISTON — Portsmouth, N.H., police are seeking a local man in connection with the attempted burglary last weekend of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

An arrest warrant for felony burglary was issued for James T. Birkbeck, 39, who reportedly was seen fleeing the charity’s office at 446 Market St. in Portsmouth on Saturday when an employee interrupted a burglary in progress, police said in a news release.

Birkbeck was described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing about 175 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes.

Birkbeck, believed to be in the Lewiston area, remained unaccounted for Wednesday night.

Birkbeck is no stranger to police in Maine. In the late 1990s, police across the state began looking for him in connection with a slew of burglaries in Lewiston and the surrounding area.

Nine arrest warrants from the Lewiston and Auburn police departments and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office were issued at the time, charging him with burglary, theft, assault, criminal mischief, violating bail and failure to appear in court.

Birkbeck was accused of entering apartments in Lewiston and Auburn while elderly tenants were home and taking jewelry and other items. Several of the victims reported they confronted a burglar as he entered through open doors or windows.

The search went on for two weeks before Birkbeck was captured in Plymouth, Mass. He was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison for the break-ins. Five people were charged with aiding Birkbeck during the time that he remained on the lam.

Any information about the incident in Portsmouth should be directed to Detective Rebecca Hester by phone at 603-610-7649. Anonymous tips can be left at Seacoast Crime Stoppers by calling 603-431-1199 or by visiting www.seacoastcrimestoppers.org. Tips can also be sent by text to CRIMES (274637) with the letters “TIPSCS.” Anyone with a tip leading to an arrest or indictment could be awarded by up to $1,000 in cash.


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