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Vandals go on mailbox smashing rampage in Haverhill

HAVERHILL — When Marilyn Wysocki woke up early Monday morning at her Wild Ammonoosuc Road home and looked outside, it was clear that something wasn't right.

Out by the highway, she and her husband's new mailbox was badly askew. A friend had set up the shiny, white mail receptacle just three days earlier, and it had been perfectly straight.

The mailman told her what a big improvement it was over the old one that had stood there for years, when it wasn't getting knocked over by snowplows.

&#';It had been repaired about half a dozen times,&#'; Marilyn's husband, David, said of the old one.

Their new mailbox barely lasted one weekend.

&#';I said, 'My goodness! What's wrong with our mailbox?' &#'; said Marilyn, who doesn't swear.

&#';They had a busy night,&#'; she said Thursday of vandals who roamed area highways and side streets late Sunday night on a clandestine mission that, police say, must have taken them well into Monday morning, judging by the amount of the damage. Three of the Wysockis' neighbors had their mailboxes smashed, as well.

Earlier Thursday, Haverhill Police Chief Byron Charles said he was still getting calls from irate residents, who were just discovering the remains of their mailboxes. Some had to look hard, he said, as the force with which the boxes were struck knocked quite a number off their posts, launching them into ditches, shrubs or nearby woods. Some are still missing.

&#';We're still tallying it up. It looks like we've got about 30, so far. There'll probably be more. Some people were away and are just getting back now to find the damage. This is going to be a fairly large amount of money,&#'; the chief said, to repair or replace the mailboxes.

The 30 bashed-in boxes were just in his town, including the Mountain Lakes District. It appears the vandals left the Wysockis' neighborhood, headed through the village of Swiftwater, and entered Mountain Lakes via French Pond Road, where they continued to wreak havoc. They likely wielded a baseball bat or similar club.

Bath was also hit, as was the main route along the Wild Ammonoosuc River. The highway also passes through Benton and Landaff to the east before it reaches the White Mountain National Forest. The final count of damaged boxes could be in the dozens as other towns weigh in.

Charles said he knows who the vandals are, two adults and a juvenile, all from Haverhill, and they'll be getting their comeuppance soon, once an accurate figure can be placed on the total damage.

&#';There have been no arrests yet,&#'; he said.

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Bob Hookway may be reached at

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