GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 1, 2013

Device sparks response, but found harmless

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — A suspicious item laced with wires that alarmed emergency personnel early Wednesday afternoon when a patrol officer found it near the clothing donations dropbox at the Whistlestop Way plaza was determined “not dangerous” shortly after police taped off a 30-foot radius.

Police secured the perimeter immediately after the officer noted the “suspicious item in the shape of a pipe,” Police Chief Leonard Campanello said.

The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad was summoned, but the squad member who responded determined the item “posed no threat to the public,” Campanello said Wednesday afternoon.

The state trooper bomb technician x-rayed the white thermos-sized box with protruding red and white wires, and finding no explosives inside of it, declared it “not dangerous.” The trooper secured the device before explaining that it appeared to be some sort of bicycle light alarm system.

A Gloucester patrolman had been checking the area about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, when the officer noticed the wired item sitting next to a clothing donation box beneath the Fastenal sign on the side of the building adjacent to the railroad tracks.

That officer called in back up police and fire crews.

Fire Captain Barry Aptt led the Fire Department in helping to secure the scene.

“We checked it out real quick. It looked like a small pipe bomb. It had wires attached,” Aptt said. “So we backed off.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, clothes, backpacks and shoes lay strewn on the sidewalk next to the emptied yellow donations box.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.