ANDOVER — GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump strikes again. Well, sort of.
A week or so after local Trump supporter Arthur Gonsalves taped an ominous-looking black box to a handmade Trump sign in front of his house at 181 Jenkins Road, police responded.
They arrived at his address Thursday shortly before 3 p.m. to investigate a report of a suspicious device.
Police set up a perimeter around the house, closed Jenkins Road, and called the state bomb squad.
That last call was cancelled, however, when they heard Gonsalves' story.
The black device with white tape and dangling wires was an old stereo equalizer. That's all, he explained. He dug it out after two handmade Trump signs were stolen about two weeks ago from his property.
To deter the vandals, Gonsalves attached the box to one of two posts at the ends of a long sign with "Trump" painted across it in big red letters. He attached a flag to the other post.
"Booby Trap," he wrote in small letters at the top of the sign, and "Danger" on the box.
"This was not done with any malice," said Gonsalves, 75.
After the incident he painted over the words of warning.
He said he did not intend to rile anyone up. Rather, he was trying to make potential vandals think twice when they saw the box, somewhat like an alarm discourages a car thief when it blares.
He said sign stealing has been a recurring problem at his property. The classic car dealer, who has hosted demolition derbies in his spacious backyard over the years, has lived in the house since 1970. His son lives next door.
Shortly after police cleared the scene after 3 p.m. Thursday, a concerned neighbor came over and hugged Gonsalves. She said she wanted to be sure nothing had happened. He told her he was fine.
Gonsalves said Ronald Reagan signs he posted back in the 1980s were vandalized, too. Probably a dozen signs have been stolen from his property over the years, he said.
People also like to rearrange the big white letters he sometimes posts in front of house. They spell G-O-N-S-A-L-V-E-S, before people spell other words with the letters, he said.
Some of the scrabble-ized words? N-O S-L-A-V-E-S and G-O S-L-A-V-E-S.
His is the first house over the Andover line, with North Reading on the other side. Police from Andover and North Reading responded and set up a perimeter around the site.
Andover police spokesman Cmdr. Charles Heseltine said they do not plan at this time to file charges related to the incident.