South

BLOTTER TALES

Help! Your (fill in the blank) is in trouble

AP Photo/Nati Harnik/ File 2008
The manager of a Mansfield RiteAid may have prevented an elderly woman from falling victim to a common scam involving gift cards.

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.

A GIFT FOR WHOM, EXACTLY?

The manager of a Rite Aid on Route 106 in Mansfield played the hero May 14, apparently helping to prevent an elderly woman from getting swindled. Just after 4 p.m. that day, the manager called police to report that an elderly woman was attempting to purchase a large amount of eBay gift cards because “she was told her son is in trouble.” There was good cause to be suspicious, as there’s a common scam that works like this: The con artist calls a senior citizen and tells him or her that a relative is in trouble and needs money right away. The victim is then instructed to buy gift cards and provide the scammer with the codes on the backs of each card. In this case, though, the manager’s quick thinking headed off that scenario, and a responding officer was able to report that the woman opted against purchasing the cards.

KNEE DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY

At 8:17 p.m. May 12, Bridgewater police received a call about a Jeep that appeared to be off-roading in fields there and had possibly gotten stuck in mud. The caller wasn’t sure if the Jeep was participating in the motorsport known as “mudding” in which drivers try to move their wheels as far as possible in a pit. In this case, though, responding officers learned the Jeep’s driver had merely been trying to “take photos of flowers” before getting good and stuck.

DAMAGE ZONE

It began at 5:13 a.m. May 8, said Marlborough Police Sergeant Daniel Campbell, when police received a 911 call from a motorist reporting that a man had placed a traffic cone in the middle of the road, begun arguing with him, and then taken a swing at his vehicle with a piece of wood retrieved from a nearby yard.Police soon received report that a man had smashed the taillight of a vehicle at the intersection of Lincoln and Prospect streets, he said. At 5:28 a.m., Campbell continued, police encountered a 23-year-old man carrying a piece of wood and took him into custody. As the day grew brighter, police learned that “a lot more vehicles that were vandalized,’’ said Campbell, adding: “We got inundated with calls.” The path of destruction went along Broad, Lincoln, and Bolton streets, and even included an employee’s vehicle parked at the police station parking lot. In all, over 30 vehicles sustained damage, ranging from slashed tires to broken taillights to smashed windshields. The suspect, who police said lives about a mile away from the scene, was also accused of stealing some marquee letters from the Bolton Street Tavern, Campbell said. He was charged with disorderly conduct, two counts of larceny under $250 (for taking the marquee letters and the piece of wood), and multiple counts of vandalism.

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