Blotter Tales

Why is that chicken standing in the road?

Freetown Police Department
A Freetown police officer photographed this encounter with a chicken in the road.

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 suburbs.


So what do you do when you see a chicken on the road? Why, you write something funny and express yourself on social media, of course. A Freetown police officer did just that recently, after taking a photo of the bird standing in the roadway in front of the police cruiser. The photo was posted on the department’s Facebook page with this caption: “Why did the chicken cross the road? He didn’t. . . . He was obnoxious and just stood there in front of my cruiser. (You’ve won this time chicken!!!) #tacticalretreat #thingsyouseewhileonpatrol”


At 5 a.m. Dec. 3, Mansfield police were dispatched to Forbes Boulevard following a report of a man causing a disturbance in the lobby of the Red Roof Inn. As the hotel staff on the phone reported that the man appeared to be impaired or suffering from some kind of mental disorder, the police could hear the man in the background, yelling “Hi.” At the scene, police learned he was a 42-year-old from New Jersey who was staying at the hotel with a co-worker and had just smoked a synthetic drug known as K2. He was placed in protective custody and taken to the Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.


What began as a morning stroll turned ugly quickly for a 49-year-old Haverhill woman on Dec. 8 in Groveland. She told officers that as she was walking her dogs on Salem Street, a pit bull broke loose from a nearby home and started barking loudly and running toward her and her dogs. The woman said she sprayed the pit bull with pepper spray but it kept coming toward her. At that point, the 46-year-old Groveland woman who owned the pit bull emerged from her house, grabbed the dog, and put it in her car. There followed a nasty back-and-forth between the two humans, according to the Haverhill woman, who told police the pit bull owner kicked her and sprayed her and her dogs with the pepper spray. Police said the Groveland woman would be summonsed to Haverhill District Court to face several charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot and pepper spray) and cruelty to animals.



A man visited the Marblehead police station on Aug. 12 to complain about a parking ticket he’d received on Hawkes Street. Asked what the ticket was for, he said he didn’t know because he didn’t look at it. Police said “Wrong Direction Parking” was checked off on the ticket. What’s more, they noticed that when the man pulled up in front of the station, he’d parked with his left wheels to the curb, facing traffic — the exact reason he got a ticket in the first place. When this was pointed out to him, police said the man didn’t see any problem with the fact that he’d just driven up the wrong side of Gerry Street. He said that it was a “stupid rule” and that he was going to fight it in court. An officer then went outside with the man and tried to explain the correct way to park. The officer also had to stop traffic in front of the station when the man pulled away from the curb, since he was facing the wrong direction.


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Ever see that TV commercial in which a man goes to his parked car and discovers it’s up on blocks, with the wheels gone? That scenario plays out in real life quite often, it seems.

One occurred in Northborough on Sept. 8, when police received a report that tires were stolen from a vehicle on Otis Street.

On Oct. 23, two such thefts took place on Centre Street in Brookline. After a woman reported that the tires on her car had mysteriously disappeared, police returned to the same street later that afternoon after a man said he’d parked his car in a garage and returned to find his tires had vanished.

On Nov. 24 just before 10 p.m., Norwood police heard from an employee of the Four Points by Sheraton, who reported that someone took the wheels off his vehicle while he was working at the hotel.


On the morning of Dec. 11, Bellingham got a call from a resident who found his 2016 Honda Accord propped up on blocks, its wheels nowhere to be found.

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