Every day, police officers respond to reports of all sorts of events and non-events, 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 suburbs.
THE GUEST MISSED CHECKOUT TIME
People often forget things in hotel rooms, with phone chargers, toiletries, and items of clothing among the most common items to end up in a hotel’s lost-and-found. Occasionally, though, housekeeping will find something truly beyond the pale. Such was definitely the case on June 9, when a manager at the Residence Inn in Concord reported that a guest had checked out and left behind a pet behind — a tarantula. Happily, the fuzzy spider wasn’t wandering loose, but housed in a small terrarium. When attempts to reach its owner were unsuccessful, the hotel asked police what they should do. The department’s animal control officer was notified and referred hotel staff to a local pet store. Unfortunately, though, the pet store could not accept the tarantula, and referred the hotel to another place that might be able shelter the tarantula. Last we checked with police, the fate of the creature — and females of the species can live for up to 20 years in captivity — was unknown. This much is sure: It hasn’t taken up legal residence in New York City, where taratulas are outlawed .
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE NEIGHBORS
At 6:07 p.m. July 14, someone called Saugus police to report concern that the owners of a residence on Wilbur Avenue had “a large hole dug in their backyard and that they have an item wrapped in a white sheet.’’ Sinister doings on Wilbur Avenue? Hardly. An officer dispatched to the scene spoke to the homeowner, who, it turned out, “was just performing yard work.”
In yet another report that at first sounded ominous, Melrose police received a call just after 10 p.m. July 10 from someone reporting “screaming and yelling” coming from a home on Mount Vernon Avenue. There had been yelling, all right, the result, police foound, of someone “being startled by a family of raccoons” in the backyard there.
JUST PICKING UP FOR THE KID, OFFICER
At 6:42 p.m. May 27, Winthrop police got a call from a woman on Pleasant Street who whispered over the phone that someone was in her house. She told police she was upstairs and the door was locked. Police were dispatched and soon located the “intruder” — a parent of one of the woman’s roommates who had arrived, unannounced, to retrieve some belongings. In the log entry, police chalked it up as a “simple misunderstanding.”
NOT MUCH TO SEE HERE — JUST A TEMPER TANTRUM
At 10:12 p.m. July 12, someone walked into the Norwood police station to report that there someone “in the parking lot acting erratically.” Well, kids can get like that: Police soon found the cause of the ruckus — a child in a car “upset about not getting pizza.”
On the afternoon of July 3, a woman in Wellesley was trying to get tech support for her Kindle and called what she thought was an Amazon customer service number. The person who answered her call walked her through several steps and remotely accessed her computer. Things got more fishy when another “customer service rep” came on the line and began asking her for personal identifying information, which the woman refused to provide. Too late, however, as she soon learned that two $50 Amazon gift cards had been purchased with the credit card she had on file with Amazon. As it turned out, the Amazon phone number that she had found online was a bogus line manned by scam artists pretending to be Amazon customer service reps. The woman did all the right things in such a case: She contacted police and her credit card company, cancelled her credit card, and changed her password. Police also advised her to place a fraud alert on her Amazon account and monitor her credit for any suspicious activity. The blog Krebs on Security reported that this has been happening elsewhere, with fraudsters posting phony support phone numbers online to trick Amazon customers. The bottom line here: If you want to reach Amazon, don’t Google around — go to the website directly.Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.