An anonymous tip led Boston police to recover five firearms from a hiding place in a Mattapan alley early Tuesday, police said.
The tipster overheard people discussing the pickup of a package with firearms in the area of Lucerne Street and Harwood Street and alerted police at 12:45 a.m., authorities said.
After searching the area, police discovered a plastic bag hidden by a doorway in a dark alley. Inside the bag were five handguns and ammunition, police said in a statement.
“This is a prime example of why anonymous tips are important. We just got five guns off the street,” Boston police Officer Rachel McGuire said in a phone interview. “We welcome any tip that leads to making the streets of Boston safer.”
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley called the tipster an “unknown hero” for stopping a crime before it happened.
“There is no question that this tipster saved a life,” he said. “Whoever you are, your city thanks you.”
McGuire also emphasized that tipsters are promised anonymity. “It’s a major priority for us to protect those who wish to remain anonymous,” she said.
Tips that directly lead to the arrest and prosecution of suspects may warrant a reward of up to $1,000, McGuire said. In the past year, 10 of 381 anonymous tips have been eligible for the award.
Police are trying to determine where the guns found Tuesday came from and who was supposed to pick them up.
The five weapons bring the total number of illegal guns seized by police this year to 449, police said.
Including guns that were voluntarily surrendered through the gun buyback program, 825 guns have been recovered in Boston this year. Police said 667 guns were seized in the city in 2013.