By Doug ireland
---- — DERRY — Police have arrested a suspect in the theft of a flag collection box from the town transfer station.
Eric Lecuyer, 42, of 17L Gamache Road was arrested on a warrant at his home last week, according to Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas.
Lecuyer was recorded by a transfer station surveillance camera when he took the box Nov. 29. The 3-foot steel box had been refurbished by Pinkerton Academy JROTC students and installed at the transfer station only a week earlier.
The former postal box, estimated to weigh more than 200 pounds, was recovered — damaged — at Lecuyer’s home on Dec. 9, Thomas said.
Thomas would not say why the investigation and arrest took nearly two months. On Jan. 3, he said an arrest warrant was being issued, but could not disclose when the suspect would be arrested.
Yesterday, he would only say in an email that “we conduct thorough, well-documented investigations before making an arrest. We did so in this case.”
Lecuyer was released on $1,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 30 in 10th Circuit Court, Thomas said.
Lecuyer is a registered sex offender convicted of possessing child pornography in 2003, according to New Hampshire State Police.
He was convicted on a theft charge in 1994, state police said. Lecuyer was arrested in Derry on Feb. 10, 2013, on two counts of simple assault, two counts of criminal threatening and a single count of criminal mischief.
He was convicted of simple assault March 29, 2013, police said.
Installing the red, white and blue box at the transfer station was a joint effort by Pinkteron’s JROTC students and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The students repaired, sanded and painted the box.
The bin was placed so residents could properly dispose of worn American flags.
The students and transfer station officials have wondered why anyone would steal the box.
“The thing I can’t understand is why,” town recycling coordinator Joanie Cornetta said. “Why would anyone take it?”
Lt. Col. Howie Steadman, the JROTC program adviser, said the students will repaint the damaged box and reinstall it at the transfer station once it is returned by police after their investigation is complete.