EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 28, 2013

Plug Pond searched for gun

Weapon was used in crime, but police refuse to say more

By Bill Cantwell

---- — HAVERHILL — Drive by the west side of Plug Pond any summer day and you’ll likely see nothing more than a couple of fishermen casting their lines.

But yesterday, something far different was happening at the small park across from expensive homes at the edge of Mill Street.

A state police dive team scoured the pond’s bottom, looking for a gun that had been used in a crime in Haverhill, according to police.

Police would not say any more than that — refusing to say what kind of crime the gun was used in or when it happened.

“They’re looking for a gun from a previous case,’’ Haverhill police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said when asked about the search.

He said he had no details of the case and that Haverhill Lt. Robert Pistone would handle the release of any details. Later in the day, Pistone emailed limited information about the search.

“They were obviously looking for something,’’ his email said. “What that is and what it is in reference to can’t be commented on at this time by the Haverhill Police Department. I will have to refer you to the MA State Police for further comment. There is no reason for the public to be alarmed by their presence today.’’

He also said any other information would have to come from the state police. A spokesman for that department refused to give any details. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office, would only say the search involved a criminal investigation.

Drivers passing the park saw a scuba diver donning his gear and preparing to enter the water shortly before 10 a.m. He used a metal detector to search the pond’s bottom.

At one point, the diver surfaced holding a toy gun and told other members of the team that was not the gun they were looking for, which drew laughter.

The search lasted from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., police said.

Pistone said he was unaware of any plan to search the area again. Late last night however, a police vehicle was parked at the edge of the water shining its lights into a shallow part of the pond. It was unclear whether a diver was in the water.