An explosive device apparently placed in a newspaper sales box on a Pleasant Street sidewalk broke a window at Mamie's Kitchen and started a Gloucester and State Police bomb squad investigation, looking for who and what caused the early Sunday morning blast.
Monday afternoon, Gloucester and Massachusetts State Police offered a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that leads to the arrest or conviction of whomever caused the blast that damaged the restaurant and destroyed the sales box.
The bomb squad and Gloucester police detectives were at the site Monday.
Gloucester police Lt. Kathy Auld, the force's chief of detectives, said authorities haven't made much yet out of a pile of mangled metal sitting in the police station. Police have also not yet been able to pinpoint what type of device caused the explosion, except to say that the remains of the metal box indicate that it was more than a firework.
At 4:02 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a report of broken glass at Mamie's Kitchen at the corner of Pleasant and Liberty streets. They found that an explosive device had blown up a Gloucester Daily Times newspaper sales box on the sidewalk. The blast sent debris through the window, damaging a door and a wall of the building as well.
Alicia DeWolfe, who runs the restaurant, said she called police about the broken window and they told her that something nearby had exploded.
"We have no idea what happened," DeWolfe said,
According to the incident report, DeWolfe told her landlord — Joe Mondello, of Mondello's Shoe Repair — about the damage. Mondello declined comment on this story.
Auld said police don't know what blew up the sales box, but whatever did had some force behind it and officers didn't find anything that looked like a firework in the wreckage.
She said that, aside from some calls about fireworks around the city, this was the only incident like it over the the last few days. Gloucester police Detective Steve Mizzoni said it's the first incident like it he can remember.
Kids have lit off fireworks and "Draino" bombs in the city on occasion, he said, but nothing with the kind of power shown in the Pleasant Street incident.
Mizzoni said that whatever blew up the box probably was placed inside, though, he added, that's hard to determine without an official reconstruction. The bomb squad will do that and a chemical forensic analysis in the near future, he said but wasn't sure when they'll be finished.
Mizzoni said police are taking the incident very seriously — and authorities want to make sure they know what was used to make the explosion
While the blast did some damage to Mondello's building, Mizzoni said it could have been worse than a broken window.
"The only reason (the explosion) bounced that way was because a telephone pole stopped the blast from going into the street," Mizzoni said, "The pole saved it from going into the street and hitting cars or pedestrians."
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.