August 27, 2013

Sanford man held in theft of Goodall plaque

Zachary Blier, 21, told police he and a friend had been drinking, climbed the statue and the 100-pound plaque fell off.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SANFORD — The bronze plaque stolen from a statue in Sanford and recovered Saturday in a nearby apartment should be back on the monument in a couple of weeks, a city official said Tuesday.

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A parks department worker waters flowers at the base of the Thomas Goodall statue in Sanford's Central Park in this 1997 file photo.

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Zachary Blier, 21, has been charged with felony theft for stealing a 100-pound plaque from the Thomas Goodall statue in Sanford.

York County Sheriff's Department

Additional Photos Below

The plaque, which was stolen Aug. 10, was located Saturday by police covered by a bedsheet in Zachary Blier's apartment at 907 Main St. in Sanford.

Police said an anonymous tip led officers to Blier, 21, who confessed to stealing the plaque.

Blier told police that he and a friend had been drinking at The Green Room, a Sanford nightclub, and climbed on the statue of Thomas Goodall in Central Park when the 100-pound plaque fell off the monument. The two then carried it to the apartment, Blier told police.

Blier was arrested and charged with violating probation and felony theft, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. He made an initial appearance in Springvale District Court on Monday and was still being held Tuesday at the York County Jail on $500 cash bail, said Sanford police Detective Sgt. Matt Jones.

The plaque was one of four on the base of the statue, which was erected in 1917 -- 50 years after Goodall moved to Sanford and established textile mills in the city, said Harland Eastman, president of the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society.

While run by Goodall's sons, the mills became the first in the country to produce mohair plush, a fabric used for blankets and upholstery, and rising employment led to a population boom, according to Eastman.

Sanford "would not be a city today except for the Goodalls," he said.

Eastman said the statue, which was originally in Sanford Square and moved to Central Park in 1967, has never been damaged or defaced before.

Marcel Blouin, Sanford's director of recreation and public property, said the city plans to hire the Sanford company Heritage Memorials to recast decorative coverings for the screws, then remount the plaque.

"Could be two, could be three weeks," he said.

Heritage Memorials gave the city an estimate of $200 for the work, said Blouin.

The stolen plaque, which commemorates Goodall, would have cost about $4,500 to replace, city officials said Tuesday.

Had Blier sold it for scrap, he would have gotten about $250, said City Councilor Fred Smith, who owns JMS Cleaning and Recycling, which buys scrap metal.

Soon after the plaque went missing, Smith offered a $500 reward for its recovery and the arrest and conviction of the person who stole it, or $300 just to get it back. Smith said if police can confirm that the tipster, whom Jones wouldn't name, was not also involved in the theft, he will pay the reward.

Smith said he has turned in people who have sold him brass urns and plaques stolen from cemeteries. He's never gotten the money back for what he bought.

"It's about doing to the right thing," he said Tuesday.

Jones said Blier has a prior burglary conviction, but didn't know why he was on probation when he was arrested Saturday. His next court date has not been scheduled, according to a clerk at York County Superior Court.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at

lbridgers@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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This plaque was stolen from the Thomas Goodall statue in Sanford on Aug. 10. After receiving a tip, police say they found it Saturday at the Main Street apartment of 21-year-old Zachary Blier.

Photo provided by Sanford Police Department

  


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