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Assault charge gives Portsmouth man his 153rd arrest

A local man was arrested for the 153rd time on Sunday — only a week after he finished serving a one-year jail term for stealing a $1.99 can of beer.

Paul Baldwin — described by police as a “leech on the resources of the community” — is back in Rockingham County House of Corrections and facing three new charges.

Baldwin, 49, with no permanent address, appeared in Portsmouth District Court on Monday to face a Class A misdemeanor simple assault charge alleging he struck a man in the face in Market Square over the weekend.

He was arraigned via video on that charge and two violation-level offenses alleging criminal trespass and that he had an open container of alcohol when discovered on the railroad tracks by police on May 29.

Portsmouth Prosecutor Rena DiLando told Judge Sawako Gardner that Baldwin had contact with local police three times during the past week.

She noted Baldwin was only recently released from jail after serving a one-year term for a felony theft charge that stemmed from him stealing a 24-ounce beer from a Islington Street convenience store in May of 2008. The theft of the beer was a felony because he had two previous convictions on the same charge.

DiLando said Baldwin was on probation during his most recent arrest and asked that he be held on $5,000 cash bail.

The prosecutor said Baldwin is a danger to the community and noted he has an extensive criminal record that includes charges of felony theft, lewdness, shoplifting and more.

“That’s just the beginning,” DiLando said.

DiLando said she didn’t have time to read his entire criminal record because it was so lengthy.

During previous court hearings, Portsmouth police said Baldwin’s criminal record and interactions with police date back to 1984 and include 152 arrests, eight trespass orders, 75 citations, four different Social Security aliases and 17 different name aliases.

During an arraignment in May 2008 on theft charges, Baldwin repeatedly noted he didn’t want a lawyer and told Judge Gardner: “I’ve been in this court more than you have.”

Former Portsmouth Prosecutor Corey MacDonald has described Baldwin as a “leech” on the community’s resources

Baldwin wore a surgical mask over his face during his Monday arraignment and began by apologizing to Gardner for his prior manner of speaking to her in court appearances.

He said he has had a long battle with alcohol and was attempting to correct the problem while serving his jail sentence.

“I have no problem with drugs, it’s just the drinking,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin told the court he intends to plead guilty to all of his recent charges and was given a June 16 court date.

Gardner ordered Baldwin held on $1,500 cash and $2,000 personal recognizance bail.

She noted he was to adhere to a 7 p.m. curfew if he was released, unless he was out later while working.

Source: Fosters Daily Democrat

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