HAVERHILL (CBS) – The disappearance of the 7-foot gingerbread man was discovered Monday by members of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce who had commissioned students at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High to build four of them to improve the image of the city’s downtown area.

“They helped make the city look beautiful for the Christmas stroll. We had about 10,000 people in the Christmas stroll and then for something to happen to it, we don’t know what yet, that hurt,” said Mayor James Fiorentini.

The missing gingerbread man was found, in pieces, Thursday morning at the spot from which he was missing.  A Haverhill Police officer photographed it and then took the broken pieces as evidence.

Chamber of Commerce President James Jajuga looked on.  Jajuga, a highly decorated State Police veteran, former state senator and former Secretary of Public Safety found the theft and destruction of something meant to make children happy saddening.

“It’s not, obviously, a major crime but it’s frustrating for us because we’re just trying to bring some joy to the community,” said Jajuga.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

A surveillance camera overlooks the scene.   Haverhill Police say they are reviewing video from Christmas weekend to see if they can find any leads.

“These are difficult times.  There’s no cost to this Christmas stroll.  We’re trying to make it better for people,” said Jajuga.

Mayor Fiorentini says he’s not going to let theft or vandalism stop the city from making itself more attractive, not only for the holidays but as a place for people to live and in which to work.

Haverhill Police say they have no suspects and would like anybody with information about the theft and destruction of the gingerbread man to contact them.

The Chamber of Commerce expects to ask the students at Whittier Voke-Tech to build a new one.

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