NORTH ANDOVER — Police arrested the town's purchasing director last night, alleging that he stole profits from selling town equipment on the Internet.

Joseph Lydick, 43, of 21 Linlew Drive, Derry, N.H., was arraigned in Lawrence District Court today on three counts of embezzlement by a municipal official and three counts of larceny over $250. He remains free on his own recognizance, and he returns to court tomorrow for assignment of a court-appointed attorney. Judge Michael Brooks ordered Lydick not to use a computer.

Part of Lydick's job was to dispose of surplus equipment such as police cruisers and firefighting and public works equipment. A method he used was the Web site, Detective Lt. Paul Gallagher said.

"We can't account for" some of the money from the sales, Gallagher said.

Details about exactly what Lydick allegedly sold and how much money was involved were unavailable last night. Gallagher said the investigation continues.

"Most of these have to do with DPW equipment," Gallagher said.

The town manager's office asked police to look into fiscal improprieties by the purchasing director last week, Gallagher said.

Police issued a warrant for Lydick's arrest yesterday. He turned himself in at the police station last night.

Lydick was placed on unpaid leave effective Nov. 13, "pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation into allegations of fiscal improprieties," said Town Manager Mark Rees.

Rees said Lydick earns between $65,000 and $70,000 per year.

Lydick started his job in February 2008. Officials created his position to save money by consolidating roles that town departments and the School Department had done separately.

Lydick spent 20 years in the Army and worked as a procurement manager for the state. He said at the time of his hiring that his goal was to save the town money by working with all the departments.

Lydick is listed as the football coordinator for the Derry Demons youth football board of directors.

Staff writers Jim Patten and Cheryl Rock contributed to this report.

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