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