I didn’t write this, but it’s worth a mention seeing as the saga has been playing out in the column.
Mayor Gatsas’ gavel found in car stopped by Derry police
MANCHESTER —Thanks to a traffic stop by Derry police, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will be getting his gavel back.
Manchester Police Lt. Nick Willard Wednesday said James Vaillancourt, 20, 0f 176 Wayne St., was charged with theft by unauthorized taking for taking an unauthorized souvenir from the aldermanic chambers while he was attending a wedding there March 14.
Willard said Derry Police stopped Vaillancourt Tuesday as a habitual offender and, after his vehicle was towed, did an inventory of the contents. Finding the gavel, with a gold metal tag identifying it as property of Manchester, Derry police contacted Manchester City Hall personnel, who knew the gavel was gone but had not made a police report. City hall then made the report, burglary unit detectives Jean Roers and David Dupont investigated, and Willard said police determined Vaillancourt had taken the gavel while attending the wedding of a family member in the aldermanic chambers.
The theft charge alleges Vaillancourt stood behind the podium to view the ceremony and stole the gavel.
“It was not lost. It was not missing. It was stolen,” Willard said. “Were it not for the initiative of the Derry Police Department, it might never have been recovered.”
In addition to the theft charge in Manchester, Willard said, Vaillancourt faces a receiving stolen property charge in Derry, in addition to the felony habitual offender charge for which he was stopped.
Vaillancourt is scheduled to be arraigned today in District Court on the Manchester charge.