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Peabody police investigate discovery of poisonous plastic Easter eggs

Peabody police are trying to determine who left a batch of potentially deadly plastic Easter eggs hidden in town, each filled with antifreeze.

“This is being vigorously investigated by our department,” Peabody police Captain Dennis Bonaiuto said. “These types of plastic Easter eggs are attractive to children, and we certainly don’t want to see them come into the hands of a child or see anybody’s pets injured.”

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The first poisonous egg was reported to police at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Seven more eggs have been discovered on Aberdeen Avenue, Dexter Street, and Greenwood Road, Bonaiuto said.

Ethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in antifreeze, has a sweet flavor and aroma that can tempt children and animals to taste it, according to the website of the Humane Society of the United States. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning can at first appear as lethargy or disorientation, but can lead to kidney failure, coma, or death if not treated within several hours of ingestion, the Humane Society said.

“If the elements of the crime are there, then the person responsible will be charged, and there are significant penalties,” Bonaiuto said. “We have to let the facts play out, but obviously, I don’t know what type of explanation one would have for placing a substance like antifreeze in these eggs.”

Catalina Gaitan can be reached at catalina.gaitan@ globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.

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