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.
LET IT SNOW
Slippery roads. Stuck vehicles. Arguments about parking spaces. Fights over shoveling. Those are just some of the problems that came with the record-setting snowfall we received from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2. In Burlington, police certainly received their share of interesting calls. At 9:42 a.m. as the January storm raged, a call came in from someone who spotted a wild turkey having difficulty making its way through the snow. But the animal control officer was off duty at the time, leaving the creature on its own. At 5:20 p.m. that day, a town public works employee asked police to send a cruiser to Willow Way because a resident there wasn’t pleased that the town was plowing his street. During the second storm, on Feb. 2 police received an emergency call from a home on Prouty Road, but it proved to be not an emergency at all. Instead, a brother and sister were arguing over whose turn it was to shovel. It was the brother who placed the call, unbeknownst, said mom, to her.
BLIZZARD DRAG RACING
Drag racing on public roadways is never a good idea. And during a blizzard? It’s downright crazy. But that’s what happened Jan. 27 in Milton. At 2:38 p.m. police pursued three cars racing down Blue Hills Parkway in the midst of the snowstorm. Boston already had seen about 21 inches of snow at that point. The trio of young drivers — all of whom hail from my hometown of Dorchester — started at Canton Avenue and raced to Brook Road “to see who could handle the snow better,” said Deputy Chief John E. King. “The cars were speeding and smashed into snow banks,” said King. It’s not clear who won this ill-conceived competition, but all three drivers were issued citations for drag racing and for violating the state’s emergency travel ban.
About two hours later, an Arlington woman was arrested and charged with attacking her neighbor with a hand-held snow blower. When police arrived at Park Avenue, they found a 60-year-old woman with cuts on her foot. Police said she had previously filed for a harassment protection order against her neighbor. Her 61-year-old neighbor was arrested and charged with violation of that order, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and mayhem. Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan released a statement expressing his disappointment over the incident and asking residents to remain calm. “Emotions may run high during a historic weather event like the blizzard we just endured, but that is no excuse for violence.”
BAD TIME TO STEAL A CAR
Meanwhile, late that same afternoon, State Police were on the lookout for a 2008 Toyota SUV that had been stolen in Lowell. Trooper Greg Doherty spotted it traveling southbound on Interstate 495 behind several plows. With the help of fellow troopers Joel Nunes, Kurt Bourdon, and Jamie Vitale and Sergeant Robert Ackerman, Doherty stopped the SUV in Hopkinton. Police arrested and charged the 27-year-old driver with violating regulations for a state of emergency, drug possession, using a motor vehicle without authority, receiving stolen property, and operating with a revoked license. The 22-year-old passenger was charged with drug possession and receiving stolen property. The duo, who live in Worcester, are due back in Framingham District Court Feb. 27 for a pretrial hearing.
SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY IN THE WITCH CITY
Up on the North Shore on blizzard day, police were just as busy. Just before 7 p.m., Salem police responded to a report of three men wearing masks on Michael Road. The shady-looking trio turned out to be three National Grid employees working at a substation. Then at 8:30 p.m., police received a report of people leaping from a second-story window of a building on Prescott Street into a mountainous pile of snow. Officer Derek Sears spoke with a woman at the scene and advised her and her fellow leapers: No more jumping out the window.
The following afternoon, Stoughton police got a call from a man on Monk Street complaining about his neighbor shoveling snow into the roadway. He told police he was losing patience and wanted to punch his neighbor in the mouth if he didn’t stop. Officers spoke to both men, and thankfully, their dispute was settled without fisticuffs.
Is it me, or does it seem that snowstorms bring out the worst in people? On Jan. 29, at about 2:21 p.m., Weymouth police were sent to Park Ave West, where a resident had reportedly threatened two oil delivery men with a baseball bat. Two fuel company employees said the bat-wielding man confronted them after they used his driveway to turn their truck around. They told police he swung the bat at their heads, and used the end of it to jab one of them in the chest. When the police showed up at the resident’s door, the alleged “batman” said he was sick of people using his driveway to turn around because he had worked very hard to clean up the snow. He was arrested and charged with assault and battery and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. We can only guess how many drivers used his freshly shoveled driveway after that.
GOAT ON THE LAM
The best blizzard tale of all was the timely capture of the legendary Lowell Goat just before the snowstorm began. The elusive creature had been on the loose since December. After escaping from its home in Tewksbury, it had been spotted wandering around Lowell. On Jan. 17, State Police Trooper Dustin Fitch tweeted a photo of the goat grazing near Interstate 495 in Chelmsford. But like Whitey Bulger, he continued to evade police. (At one point the Lowell Police Department released a statement on Facebook, warning residents to stay away from the 200-pound horned creature: “After a valiant effort to capture the goat, he still remains at large.”) The runaway goat became an instant celebrity of sorts, as local media outlets reported on the sightings. Someone even started a Twitter account called @TheLowellGoat that attracted nearly 1,400 followers. The manhunt (or, rather, goat hunt?) continued until Jan. 26, when he was finally caught in Westford with a humane trap set up by the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s rescue services team. The goat was taken to the Animal Rescue League’s Dedham shelter, where he was put up in the barn and given a fresh bed of straw and food and water.