Robert Martel, 30, accused of stealing couple’s car
Police said Ford Welch, 87, and his wife had been out grocery shopping when they arrived home to find a strange car in their driveway and the doors to the home open. Thinking it may have been a family member with a new car, they pulled up behind it and went inside.
When Welch entered the house he found an intruder, identified by police as Robert Martel, 30, carrying a pillow case full of the couple’s belongings. Welch yelled for his wife to call 911 as the intruder ran for the driveway, police said.
Welch struggled with Martel in the driveway, during which he sustained a hand injury. Martel then stole the homeowner’s car and fled the area.
“Oh yeah, we had a little wrestling place out there in the driveway,” Welch said. “We fought a while and we got down, and of course it’s slippery out there, and that helped.”
Belmont officers arrived within a minute and a half of the 911 call, giving aid to Welch. First responders radioed area departments and troopers to be on the lookout for the stolen car.
The stolen car was located and stopped on Route 3 in Tilton, and Martel was arrested. A search of the car revealed jewelry stolen from the couple’s home.
The couple was working with detectives Friday afternoon to make a list of everything that had been stolen from the home. Belmont police said Welch and his wife were shaken up by the event but were happy to hear that an arrest had been made.
Martel was charged with burglary and theft of a motor vehicle, and is being held until his arraignment Monday.