November 20. 2016 9:17PM

Donation helps Raymond Historical Society get back on track after burglary

Union Leader Correspondent

A Londonderry man has donated old train memorabilia to the Raymond Historical Society after learning that thieves broke into a 1932 Boston & Maine railroad caboose used to display items. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

RAYMOND — A Londonderry man’s donation of old train memorabilia has put the Raymond Historical Society back on track after a theft earlier this year.

Raymond Longa decided to donate several items from his late father’s collection of antiques after reading a story in the New Hampshire Union Leader about how thieves had broken into a caboose from 1932 at the historical society and stole memorabilia that was on display.

Longa said his father was an antiques dealer and had collected the items over the years. He hoped the donation would replace some of what the historical society lost.

“It’s time to start passing all of this on,” he said.

The donated items included a set of gold and a set of silver coat button covers from a Boston & Maine railroad conductor’s uniform; a lantern catalog believed to be from the 1940s; an early 1900s booklet titled “Mountains of New England” published by the Boston & Maine Railroad; a pocket list of railroad officials from 1959; and period advertisements for railroad equipment.

“I just thought it was so thoughtful of him. It was nice of him to reach out from another town,” said Diane DeBruyckere, historical society president.

DeBruyckere said the uniform button covers donated by Longa were similar to some of the ones stolen when the caboose that was parked outside the historical society was burglarized in April.

A Boston & Maine conductor’s cap was taken from the head of a mannequin dressed up as a train conductor during the break-in, along with a train donation box, more than 20 railroad uniform buttons, two rare railroad police badges, railroad patches, and a roll of novelty paper.

The only items recovered were the conductor’s cap and the novelty paper.

Nathan Fortier, 20, of Pembroke, Ronald Fitzwater, 19, of Concord, and a 17-year-old were charged in connection with the incident.

They were ordered to pay restitution that covered the $1,000 deductible through the historical society’s insurance policy, DeBruyckere said, but the total claim for the cost of the stolen items and property damage was nearly $10,000.

Some of Longa’s donated items are new to the historical society’s railroad collection. DeBruyckere said she appreciated the donation and is glad the public will be able to see them on display.

The items had little value to Longa.

“I’m at an age where I have to start shedding stuff and giving it to them was just a natural fit,” he said.