Every day, police officers respond to reports of all sorts of events and nonevents, most of which never make the news. Here is a sampling of lesser-known — but no less noteworthy — incidents from police log books (a.k.a. blotters) in our communities.
HOPE FOR FOX
Back in November, an injured fox was seen in Andover hobbling from yard to yard, trying to hide. A concerned citizen notified police and the town’s animal control officer, Katie Kozikowski, responded to the call. When Kozikowski arrived at the scene, a police officer had cornered the fox in a fenced-in area. Using the fence to their advantage, they managed to catch the animal with a net and transfer her to a cage. Kozikowski then brought the fox to Newhouse Wildlife Rescue in Chelmsford. The fox — soon named Hope — was in rough shape, and the outlook didn’t look promising. But she turned out to be a fighter, and slowly but surely regained her strength. By January, she had gained 2 pounds, and in February she was healthy enough to be moved to an outdoor enclosure. Newhouse Animal Rescue and Andover Animal Control shared before-and-after photos of Hope on Facebook, showing how far she has come in terms of her recovery. If all goes according to plan, Hope will (hopefully) be able to return to the wild soon.
On Feb. 25, Wilmington police were dispatched to Pineridge Road to speak with a resident who had received something in the mail that she wasn’t expecting: an Amazon package containing a ring that she didn’t order. She was concerned because the package was addressed to her with her correct mailing address. What was puzzling is that she had not paid for the ring, nor was she missing any money from her accounts. According to the police report, when she Googled the return address on the package, “it led her to a string of replies similar to her circumstance. People saying they received the same ring they did not order but were out no loss.” So what gives? Why would someone send a ring in the mail to a perfect stranger? The most likely reason is that the ring was part of a “brushing” scam. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, the sender is usually an international third-party seller who mails merchandise to a name and address that they found online, with the intent of creating the impression that the recipient is an actual buyer. The scammers then use the recipient’s name to write positive online reviews to boost the product’s ratings to get more sales.
The US Postal Inspection Service website offers some sage advice on what to do if you receive something you didn’t order in the mail. It recommend you change the passwords on your accounts and keep a close eye on your credit reports and credit card bills, and report the incident to the appropriate authorities. “If the merchandise is organic (i.e., seeds, food, plants) or an unknown liquid or substance, notify the proper authorities and follow their instructions,” the website states. “If unsolicited merchandise arrives from Amazon, eBay, or another third-party seller, go to that company’s website and file a fraud report. Ask the company to remove any fake reviews under your name.” The upside of all this: If you like the free gift you received, feel free to keep it. “By law, you may keep unsolicited merchandise and are under no obligation to pay for it,” the website states.
LOST AND FOUND
At 9:53 p.m. March 20, Bridgewater police received a 911 call from someone who reported that her adult sister had gone out for a walk three hours ago and had not yet returned. Multiple phone calls were made to the sister, but they went unanswered. Perhaps her phone was dead, or her ringer was turned off, because an officer who responded to the 911 call said the missing woman was found inside the caller’s residence.
At 1:07 pm. Jan. 11, a 73-year-old Watertown woman informed police that she’d been the victim of a scam that cost her dearly. She told police that she had received an e-mail from PayPal saying that her account had been compromised and there were instructions to call a phone number and speak to a man named Mark Henry to rectify the situation. When the woman called the phone number, the man who answered told her a fraudulent bank account had been opened in her name in Russia and the Federal Trade Commission was investigating. He then told her to take the money out of her bank account and wire it to a protected bank account, which she did — to the tune of $180,000. But the $180,000 she sent didn’t get deposited into a bank; it actually ended up in an account affiliated with a cryptocurrency exchange platform. As soon as the woman realized she had been scammed, she contacted police. As of March 28, efforts to get the funds back had not been successful. “At this point, unfortunately, the victim has not recovered the money,” said Detective Lieutenant James O’Connor.
Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.