Danvers, MA: Danvers man charged with stealing historic items from library

Danvers man charged with stealing historic items from library

By Bella Travaglini, Town Correspondent

Acting on an anonymous tip, Danvers police this weekend arrested a Danvers man who is accused of stealing two precious metal items from the library and selling them at an Everett scrapyard.

Police arrested Richard Provencher, 48, at his Purchase Street home around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, said Sgt. Robert Bettencourt, and charged him with two counts of receiving stolen property and two counts of drug possession after they found pills on him during the arrest. He is accused of stealing an historic 19th century decorative copper urn and large copper plaque, which had each been donated to the Peabody Institute Library.

On Friday, Aug. 6 police received a call from someone had gave them a description of Provencher’s white pickup truck and license plate after seeing him bring a large plaque with the word “Danvers” on it into an Everett scrap yard called Scrap It, said Bettencourt.

Earlier Friday morning, the town’s building maintenance department reported to police that a large, 3 feet by 3 feet bronze plaque weighing 100 lbs.,which had been donated to the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers at 15 Sylvan St. by the Danvers Rotary Club in 1999, was missing from the outdoor gazebo, said Bettencourt.

After receiving the tip, police contacted the scrapyard and confirmed that a man had brought in the plaque with other scrap metal to sell, said Bettencourt.

Police asked about an urn, which had been reported missing from the library earlier in the week, and the scrap shop confirmed that they had the urn and had purchased it earlier last week from the same man for $1,400, said Bettencourt.

The urn’s metal is valued at about $4,000, and was donated to the library by a former library trustee, said Bettencourt. Police were unable to place an accurate monetary value on the 19th century urn due to its historical nature, he said.

Provencher was released on $2,500 bail sometime over the weekend and is set to be arraigned today in Salem District Court.

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