‘Selfies’ and online posts prove alleged felon’s downfall
PELHAM – Police apparently chose the right bait when they set out to reel in an alleged felon wanted in New Hampshire and two other states.
Joseph Giroux, 41, who police said briefly lived in Pelham last year, had been sought since he was bailed on a nearly $300,000 bond from the Sarasota County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office and allegedly fled the jurisdiction.
When members of Sarasota’s Fugitive Unit and a Sarasota bail bondsman contacted Pelham police with information suggesting Giroux was still living in Pelham, detectives “began tracking Giroux down,” police said.
As they went about touching base with people “from the southern New Hampshire area” and picking up clues here and there they hoped would lead to Giroux’s whereabouts, detectives eventually turned to a time-tested strategy: They “began texting Giroux, posing as a female from Pelham who was interested in him,” police wrote.
Giroux seemed to take the proverbial bait: “They quickly started a texting relationship and he stayed in contact with the undercover detective for a few weeks,” police said.
Giroux eventually began sending multiple “selfies,” and soon provided personal information about himself, police said.
The photos and information led to police obtaining a search warrant to track Giroux’s cell phone, police said. But he soon shut off his phone “for a few days, and when he turned it back on, he was in Punta Gorda, Florida,” police said.
So Pelham detectives forwarded that information to the U.S. Marshals Service and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, police said, but Giroux again “fell off the grid.”
When he returned, his cell phone “ping” put him in Paducah, Kentucky, and detectives promptly contacted authorities there.
Paducah police “activated their Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit and their Operations Unit,” police said, and set up a stakeout that lasted for nearly 24 hours before they spotted Giroux and were able to take him into custody without incident.
He is being held in the McCracken County Jail in Kentucky pending extradition back to Florida, police added.
During his relatively “short stay” in New Hampshire, police developed information indicating he allegedly committed theft in Northwood, and became a “strong suspect” in a theft in Pelham.
Police said the victim of the alleged Northwood crime had paid Giroux “for work to be completed,” but while Giroux “never started the work,” he allegedly “cashed the check the alleged victim gave him” at a Manchester bank.
Pelham detectives urge any area residents who may have fallen victim to a scam possibly perpetrated by Giroux to report it to their local police departments.
They said Giroux told his alleged victims he owned “Joseph Giroux 1st Choice Flooring and More Inc.”