Silver Plates Allegedly Stolen from Methuen City Hall Were Melted Down

Methuen City Hall.

A 59-year-old Methuen city employee has been formally charged with stealing historic silver artifacts from City Hall that were later sold and melted down.

Judith K. Hajjar, of Methuen, was charged with seven counts of larceny over $250, according to Mayor Stephen N. Zanni and Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon. The items from the city’s municipal vault are seven antique silver plates, purchased many years ago from Searles family estate. The employee allegedly sold the plates to a pawn shop, which later sold them to a refinery, which melted the plates down for scrap,” a statement said.

“A piece of our city’s history has been lost forever, and it is a shame that one person’s greed has cost us so dearly,” said Zanni. The city estimated the value of the plates at tens of thousands of dollars.

The investigation began late last month when City Clerk Tina Touma-Conway sought to lend the plates to the Methuen Historical Society. An investigation, begun by Methuen Police Capt. Kristopher McCarthy, led police to Hajjar, who had been tasked with cleaning the vault.

Zanni said the city will use the civil and criminal courts to recover the value of the plates, which may include going after her pension.