Jaffrey Meetinghouse donations robbed

  • Police are searching for leads after someone broke into the Jaffrey Meetinghouse last month. About $30 to $50 in petty cash was stolen and hole roughly two-square-feet in size was cut into the bathroom wall.  file photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 12:21PM

The Jaffrey Police Department is searching for leads after someone broke into the Jaffrey Meetinghouse last month.

Rob Stephenson of the Jaffrey Meetinghouse Committee said Tuesday that approximately $30 to $50 in petty cash was taken after someone smashed a plexiglass donation box inside the building.

Additionally, a hole of approximately two-square feet was cut into one of the bathroom walls, although pipes and other things inside the wall were not taken. 

“It’s disappointing, but it isn’t a serious financial matter,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said the donation box – created in the shape of the meetinghouse – had been a fixture within the meetinghouse for the past 20 years. There are no plans to recreate the box, Stephenson said.

This is the first time Stephenson can recall something of this nature happening at the meetinghouse in the past 25-30 years, which is when he first started looking after it. 

Stephenson and fellow committee member Bruce Hill discovered the theft on the evening of June 27. The two committee members were meeting there that night to test the lighting for a play to be presented in the meetinghouse this August. The play, written by Ken Sheldon, was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Dean Farm murder mystery. 

After noticing that the door was unlocked, they found the smashed donation box.

Stephenson said he empties the box partially about once a year. The money is used for small purchases to benefit the meetinghouse. 

“It was in several pieces and all the bills were gone,” said Stephenson.

Police checked the entire facility upon arrival, later finding the hole that had been cut into the bathroom wall. The hole exposed a copper pipe, but nothing was removed from within the wall. 

Stephenson said there were no signs of forced entry and that the door may have accidentally been left unlocked. 

“An investigation has been opened, but we have limited leads,” Jaffrey Police Chief Bill Oswalt said Monday. “There isn’t much in the way of physical evidence.”

The wall has since been repaired by the town, Stephenson said. Stephenson said he doesn’t know how much the repair would cost, but believes it  would be less than the deductibl e required to be met for an insurance claim. 

  Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.