Telephone Tip Leads to Battery Under Building
NORWOOD, July 14, 1957-A warning that a bomb was in the sands at the beach of New Pond caused the evacuation of 2000 bathers and picnickers from the area at 4 p.m. today.
A corroded battery, similar to the type used in portable radios, was uncovered three hours later by police under the concession stand where the warning was received by a telephone call.
Investigators said someone may have mistaken the badly discolored battery, its outer covering removed or worn away, for an explosive instrument, or the completely harmless device may have been placed there as a weird prelude to a hoax.
Police could not determine immediately if the battery was tossed or placed under the stand, or how long it had been there. It was taken by State Police explosive experts for further study.
The battery was found about a foot from a frequently traveled path at the rear of the stand.
The warning was received over a private, unlisted telephone by one of several women working at the stand. She told police the caller sounded like a youth and merely said, “There is a bomb at the beach,” before abruptly hanging up.
Chief Mark Folan, after conferring with Lt Murphy, ordered the beach evacuated and State Police and Westwood police notified. Part of the beach extends into Westwood. Lifeguards joined police in clearing the area. They did not tell those removed the purpose of the evacuation.
Few Persons Protest
While police cars patrolled streets adjacent to the waterfront in this town and in Westwood, officers on foot moved among the picnic groups and beckoned to bathers to come ashore as they informed them the beach had to be cleared.
Few persons protested, although many left behind box lunches or had to return to their autos without having time to dry off.
Many thought a severe thunderstorm might have been forecast, thus causing the unexpected halt of their pleasant afternoon in the sun.
Howard Elliott of Waltham, explosives technician for the State Police, was notified at his home by an emergency call from State Police headquarters. He sped to the scene while Lt Murphy, Town Manager Walter Blasenak and Selectman James J. Drummey directed evacuation of the beach. Many persons remained outside the barred area while the area was searched.
Under Concession Stand
The battery was found under the concession stand, which is elevated several feet above the sand by cement pilings. Police said batteries of similar make could be wired to explode dynamite percussion caps.
The beach was closed for the night with a special police detail on guard at all entrances. Police will confer tomorrow morning to determine when the area will be reopened.
An intensive investigation was launched immediately by state and local police. A warning was issued tonight by Norwood police that if the call were a hoax, its perpetrator is liable under a new state law to a fine of up to $1000. imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.
Charges Fees Daily
The beach area is operated by the Norwood Civic Assn., which charges fees daily for its use.
Police declared the telephone over which the warning was received is used only during the Summer and is not listed in telephone directories.
They theorized the caller may have been someone familiar with the operations of the concession, or somebody who noted the number of the phone while in the stand.