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    Emergency! I need a smoke!

    Burlington police took a strange “emergency” call Feb. 9: Someone at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center needed a cigarette desperately.

    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.


    Just before 9 p.m. March 17, Norwood police were told a suspicious person was wandering the parking lot of the Stop & Shop on Route 1. The individual was described as a man wearing a large hooded jacket “playing with carts” in the lot and “mumbling to himself.” An officer was dispatched and found the hooded one. His suspicious activity? Gathering the carts in the lot, just as this Stop & Shop employee was supposed to do.


    At 7:27 a.m. Feb. 9, Burlington police got a 911 call from someone at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center on Mall Road. The caller said he was at the hospital and in need of a cigarette, but he acknowledged the situation was hardly that of an emergency. Police spoke to the staff at Lahey and made them aware of the situation.


    Mailboxes are made for the safe delivery of the US mail to people’s doorsteps, but occasionally strange items turn up in them that no self-respecting letter carrier would deposit. Case in point: Just after 5:30 p.m. March 8, Bridgewater police got a call from a resident who said someone had left a dead mouse with a note in his mailbox. The incident was documented, but police had no further details when we checked recently. Only twenty minutes or so later that same day, someone walked into the Walpole police station to report finding a very small but potentially troublesome object in the mailbox — a lone pill. Again, a report was taken.



    At 2:50 p.m. March 9, a caller told Bridgewater that someone “dropped a large amount of adult magazines” into the recycling bin at an intermediate school on South Street. Police sent to the scene soon confirmed that it was true: a large number of adult mags dating back to the 1980s had been tossed into the recycling Dumpster located outside the school. The company responsible for managing the Dumpster was notified and emptied it later that day.


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    When it comes to alleged thievery, as with many types of prohibited activities they deal with daily, police encounter incidents that can range from the silly to the heartbreaking. What, for example, was the guy who stole a Porsche service sign from an Audi dealership on Cambridge Street in Burlington at 3:26 a.m. Feb. 4 thinking? It’s not exactly the season to decorate your dorm room, and the suspect apparently caught on security cameras didn’t fit the student demographic in another important respect. He was, according to the dealership’s general manager, driving a black Audi A4 sedan. On Feb. 8, police in Watertown encountered what we imagine is a far more typical incident: Security at the Target store there told officers that a woman tried to walk out with a basket full of merchandise that she hadn’t paid for. According to police, the woman was found with goods worth $722.27, including clothing, a handbag, a pedometer, and six Fitbits, those wearable activity trackers for the exercise crowd. The 31-year-old East Boston woman said the latter were intended “for her sister’s birthday.” She was ultimately arrested and charged with larceny over $250 and shoplifting over $100. Then on Feb. 15, a still darker incident confronted officers in that town, when a woman reported the theft of a stroller specifically designed to accomodate her child’s special needs. She had brought the child down to her car, left her apartment complex on Watertown Street to drive to the nearby Perkins School for the Blind, and when she got back, the stroller had vanished. Police are investigating the theft of the item, which was valued at $900.

    Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.