EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 15, 2013

Police: Man stole money from club

Club: Man charged in thefts from Elks lodge

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — A Methuen man has been charged with stealing money from the Haverhill Lodge of Elks while working there as the bar manager.

Michael Thomson, 53, of 224 Pleasant Valley St. was indicted by an Essex Grand Jury last month on four counts of larceny over $250.

According to documents on file in Salem Superior Court, between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, Thomson stole money that belonged to the Elks Lodge. The total amount Thomson is charged with stealing was not listed in court paperwork obtained by The Eagle-Tribune yesterday. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said the case against Thomson was presented in secret to a grand jury and is not available as public record at this time.

“More information should be available at his (Thomson’s) arraignment,” Kimball-Monahan said.

Haverhill Elks Lodge No. 165 is at 24 Summer St. Lodge officials said all money raised by the lodge goes back to the community through its charitable giving, including to veteran organizations, needy families, a scholarship fund and to support youth athletics.

Lodge officials said Thomson was employed there beginning in 2008 as the bar manager and that he no longer works there.

The Eagle-Tribune contacted Thomson yesterday to ask for comment. Thomson said he hasn’t hired a defense lawyer yet, but was advised by an attorney yesterday not to comment about his case at this time.

“I may have something to say in the future, when either myself or my attorney will comment,” Thomson said.

When contacted by The Eagle-Tribune, Vincent Ravgiala, chairman of the board of directors for the Haverhill Lodge of Elks, said he was advised by the Essex District Attorney’s office not to discuss Thomson’s case. Ravgiala would only say that Thomson was employed as the lodge’s bar manager starting around 2008.

“He was in charge of bartenders and managing the club’s house committee, taking care of bar operations, custodial services and hall rentals,” Ravgiala said.

In April 2001, the New Balance Shoe company sued Thomson, its former head of security in Lawrence, saying he stole more than $100,000 and used it to buy cars, electronic equipment and cell phones. The company filed suit in Lawrence Superior Court against Thomson, who lived in North Andover at the time, alleging theft, improper use of a company credit card, fraud and breach of contract.

According to the case docket for the lawsuit filed in 2001, the case was dismissed without prejudice on May 1, 2003.

“They (New Balance) dropped the case,” Thomson told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday.

Local police said Thomson was not charged criminally in the New Balance case.

Thomson’s arraignment in the case involving the Elks Club was supposed to happen yesterday in Salem Superior Court, where initially court officials believed Thomson had failed to show up. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but was subsequently cancelled after he appeared.

“He apparently was sitting in another courtroom in the same building,” Kimball-Monahan said.

She said that when Thomson appeared in court yesterday, he did not have a lawyer with him, so his arraignment was rescheduled to July 9.

According to court officials, Thomson was scheduled to be arraigned on the larceny charges at 9:30 a.m. yesterday. About an hour and a half later, with Thomson still having failed to appear, court officials told Judge John Lu that Methuen Police officers went to Thomson’s home in an attempt to find him, and although a vehicle registered to his wife was parked in the driveway, no one answered the door to the home. Assistant District Attorney Karen Hopwood said a summons to appear in court had been sent to Thomson’s home on June 5.

Hopwood requested an indictment warrant be issued for his arrest, which Judge Lu approved. The warrant was cancelled and expunged from Thomson’s court record after he finally appeared before the judge, according to court documents.