SHIRLEY -- The Avenue of Flags leading from Front Street to Main Street has been a proud reminder of the town's patriotism. Its upkeep is a testament to an Eagle Scout's community service project, with poles inserted in the sidewalks to mount flags of the United States of America, displayed on national holidays.

On Friday, Oct. 11, local Boy Scouts put the flags up along Front Street for the Columbus Day holiday. That evening, two of the flags were stolen from their stanchions and set ablaze.

A 38-year old woman who was apparently staying in a Davis Street apartment has been charged with several crimes stemming from the incident.

According to the police log, the incident began Friday, Oct. 11, at 8:49 p.m., when vandalism was reported near the Net LaundryMat on Front Street, next to the railroad tracks, where charred remnants of a flag pole from the Avenue of Flags was found.

A couple of hours later, another call came in, reporting vandalism at 11 Davis Street, where a second pole was found. A suspect at the scene, who fled on foot, was located and arrested about 20 minutes later.

Sgt. Peter Violette arrested the suspect, Darlene Dearville, 38, whose last known address was in Waltham. She was charged with two counts of vandalism and malicious destruction of property, both felonies; two counts of larceny under $250 and two counts of misuse of a United States flag, which is a misdemeanor.

Dearville was transported to the police station, where bail was set.


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She was held until her arraignment in Ayer District Court this week.

-- M.E. Jones