Flag Disposal Box Found, Theft Charge Expected

Why anyone would cart off a specially decorated former mailbox at the Derry Transfer Station, designed to provide residents with a dignified means of disposing of old and tattered American flags, remains unanswered, but the box has been recovered.
Derry Police Lt. Eric Kester said the box has been recovered and the individual who took it has been identified. He said the investigation is ongoing but the department anticipates a warrant for the individual’s arrest for theft will be issued.

Thomas Hardy, a Derry resident and member of the Pinkerton Academy Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC), said he was glad the box had been found but remains puzzled why anyone would take it in the first place. He and several other Pinkerton JROTC members, in conjunction with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, had put in many hours cleaning up an old, rusted mailbox for the flag disposal project, as previously reported by the Nutfield News.
According to Pinkerton JROTC Commander Lt. Col. Howie Steadman (Ret.), “No one’s told me anything other than what I heard on Channel 9 that the police found the box and they’re deciding whether to press charges or not.”
The idea to create the box came about because VFW members saw flags being inappropriately disposed of at the Transfer Station. A search for an old mailbox that could be used resulted in one being found by VFW members Frank Hooley and Bob Englehardt in Salem, Mass., thanks to their Postmaster, Mark Howell. The box was brought back to Derry and work on it was done by the JROTC members at the Derry Truck & Auto garage owned by Ron Hanscom. The box was sanded and repainted by the cadets over a two-week period
When the box was ready, Hooley and Englehardt transported it from the garage to the Derry Transfer Station, where it was set in place in coordination with Transfer Station Manager Joanie Cornetta. Steadman planned to have a sign to identify the box put in place, and the VFW planned to empty the box weekly.
But when the weekly trip to empty the box took place, the box was missing and no one knew what had happened to it. After determining that neither the VFW nor anyone at the Transfer Station had moved the box, the Derry police became involved.

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