Milford man faces multiple charges
MILFORD – Robert J. Bunce, the longtime Hollis and Milford resident whose 12-year criminal record includes multiple charges of arson, burglary, passing bad checks and bail-jumping offenses, is back in custody on allegations he threatened a man with a BB gun and stole his phone during a confrontation over a car.
Police arrested Bunce, 29, of 142 South St., Apt. 1, around 9:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, after officers responded to 154 South St. for a reported disturbance, according to police reports.
An initial investigation determined that a man had offered to buy a Ford Focus from another man for $600, but paid him only $75. When the other man objected, according to police reports, the first man brandished a BB gun and threatened the other man, then smashed a tail light on the car before allegedly stealing the man’s iPhone 6.
Officers charged Bunce with one count each of robbery, attempted robbery, criminal threatening – intimidation, criminal mischief – vandalism and theft from a motor vehicle.
Bunce was initially held on $75,000 cash bail, which was amended at his Dec. 22 arraignment to $50,000 cash or surety. He is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 13, in Milford district court.
The charges are the latest entries on a court record that Bunce began compiling in 2004, when he was 17.
A year later, Nashua police arrested Bunce, then a resident of Gorman Avenue in Nashua, and charged him with trespassing, theft and unlawful possession of alcohol, to which he pleaded guilty in exchange for a deferred jail sentence.
Bunce was 19 the next time he was arrested, which was in February 2006. He was charged with jumping bail three times – twice after he was indicted on a burglary charge and once on a charge of issuing bad checks, according to Telegraph archives.
Several months later, Bunce was charged again with burglary, this time in connection with a break-in at a Hudson home. A superior court judge reduced the four charges to misdemeanors and gave him a suspended sentence.
A Milford district court judge then sentenced Bunce to 90 days in jail, all suspended, and ordered him to pay an $800 fine as well as $630 in restitution to Wal-Mart in Amherst, the store where he issued several bad checks over the course of a week.
Come August 2007, Bunce, by then living at the Fair Haven Mobile Home Park, 111 Old Brookline Road, Bunce added a series of arson and burglary offenses to his arrest record after he and a 24-year-old man from Greenville were charged with torching a Milford apartment house and setting smaller fires in three Dumpsters and near railroad tracks off Elm Street, according to archives.
Police investigating the fires soon filed additional charges, including burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit arson, all felonies, along with four misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit arson.
About six months later, police charged Bunce with trying to set the Milford district court building on fire the same week that the apartment house and Dumpster fires occurred, according to archives. One count of attempted arson was filed, accusing him of placing "an object on the outside rear wall of the courthouse that caused burn marks," police said at the time.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443, or emailed at dshalhoup @nashuatelegraph.com.