Fugitive caught in Stratford


June 24, 2009
STRATFORD — A convicted rapist and fugitive from the state of Oklahoma was apprehended in Stratford last week. He was arrested after a brief stand-off outside the Wooddale Village apartments on Tuesday, June 16.

Police had been on the lookout for William Belanger, 20, of St. Del City — wanted in Oklahoma on probation violations stemming from his rape conviction — after receiving advisories that he could be in northern New Hampshire. According to Sgt. Timothy Hayes of the N. H. State Police, Mr. Belanger was initially spotted in Colebrook around noon on Tuesday and located in Stratford a short time later. He said that law enforcement had been aware that Mr. Belanger had been in the Stratford/Bloomfield, Vt. area for a couple of days prior and both State Police agencies had been on the lookout.

Five State Police officers, together with Stratford, Pittsburg and Colebrook police, converged on the apartment building just before 12:30 p.m. after Mr. Belanger's vehicle was spotted outside. A standoff, which Sgt. Hayes described as "very brief," resulted when Mr. Belanger refused to respond to police demands to come out of the residence. Mr. Belanger, who was unarmed, was in custody by 1:36 p.m. and is being held at the Cos County House of Corrections on $75,000 cash only bail.

At his June 17 arraignment in Colebrook District Court, Mr. Belanger did not waive extradition and has since requested court appointed counsel. A status hearing on the state's pursuit of a Governor's Warrant is scheduled for July 16 in Colebrook District Court. At that hearing, the state can request up to 60 more days to acquire that warrant and keep Mr. Belanger behind bars.

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