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Tales from the blotter

Mountain lion in Burlington?

On Sept. 17, Burlington police received a report of a mountain lion near <span channel="!BostonGlobe/NO1_REG-01,!BostonGlobe/NO2_REG-01">the </span>power lines on Locust Street. Pictured: A file photo of a mountain lion in captivity.Jim Wilson/Globe Staff/File

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 logs (a.k.a. blotters) in our suburbs.


One Monday morning in September, a woman flagged down Winthrop Police Officer James A. Feeley and told him she saw a mysterious man hiding in the weeds at Coughlin Park and taking photos of planes overhead. Feeley went to the park and discovered the suspicious-looking shutterbug was a student from Salem State University.

The following Sunday, just after 6 p.m., Winthrop police got a call about a naked woman being photographed on the beach by Maryland Avenue. The nude model and her photographer told police that they are art students from Boston University doing a college assignment. Police advised them of the laws, and that marked the end of their photo shoot.

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY On Sept. 17, Burlington police received a report of a mountain lion near the power lines on Locust Street. Animal Control Officer Gerry Mills went to the scene and trudged a half-mile through shrubs and bushes without seeing any tracks or signs of a big cat.


Talk about a nerve-racking ride home. On the afternoon of Sept. 17, a woman was driving on Central Street in Saugus when a 12-inch snake came out of her car’s air-conditioner vent. She pulled over and called police, and told the dispatcher she was too scared to get back into her car. In the meantime, she said, the snake had curled up on the dashboard to sun itself. Animal Control Officer Harold Young said that by the time he arrived, the snake had slithered under the passenger seat, but he was unable to locate the elusive reptile. Eventually, the woman mustered up the courage to get behind the wheel and drive home.


Young said he typically gets five to 10 snake calls during the summertime, and usually they’re in garages or backyards. But slithering out of a car vent? “That’s a first,” he said.


SNAKE IN A BOTTLE The very next day, about 25 miles away, a snake showed up in another police report. On Sept. 18, a woman called Stow police and said she had what she believed to be a baby rattlesnake in a Gatorade bottle. The animal control officer determined the little creature was not a rattlesnake, but actually a common species native to the area, said Marcia B. Rising, chairwoman of the Stow Board of Health. The snake was let go and “went merrily on its way,” said Rising.

HORNET ATTACK A middle school athletic event turned into a scene out of a horror movie on Sept. 18, when swarms of hornets began attacking students and coaches at a cross-country meet in Marblehead. Officers responding to the race found approximately 30 victims in the area of Stonybrook Road and Calthrope Road. Many of them had been stung multiple times.


A man told Stow police that he was fowl hunting in the Delaney Project (an area of conservation land in Stow and Harvard) on Sept. 18, when his kayak flipped over and his 12-gauge shotgun fell into the water. The caller told police he swam around trying to find it, without any success, so he wanted to report it had been lost.


On Sept. 26, Mansfield police received a report of a dispute at an apartment complex on Conners Avenue. The caller told police that her neighbor upstairs dumped some kind of chemical off her balcony, and the “liquid is killing the plant life below the balcony.” She told police that she wasn’t sure what the substance was, but that it “smells.” A Mansfield police officer dispatched to the scene reported he didn’t smell anything unusual at the complex, nor did he find remnants of any chemical. The property manager told police that the caller had been trying to get out of her lease, which doesn’t expire until April, and accused her of making up the story as an excuse to break the lease.


On a recent Friday evening in September, Peabody police received a call from a teacher at the Thomas Carroll Elementary School reporting “a suspicious male standing in front of the school talking to himself.” The responding officer discovered that the man was talking to someone via Bluetooth, and “he stated he gets better reception there than at his house.”



On Sept. 20, a man asked Peabody police to check on a female acquaintance because she sent him a text message stating that she was “going to take pills and go for a suicide walk.” Thankfully, it was a classic case of miscommunication. The officer reported that the text was sent in error, and “the involved person was going on a suicide prevention walk.”


On Sept. 25, the Bridgewater Police Department tweeted a report of a baby skunk walking around an apartment building on Meadow Lane with a kiddie ice cream cone on its head. The skunk was initially reported by a parent at a bus stop, said Lieutenant Thomas Schlatz. Sergeant Willis Griffiths bravely searched the area, but found no trace of the ice cream-laden skunk.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.