The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 10, 2000


Four arrested in potato gun vandalism

A Maple Street homeowner was sitting in his family room watching television at 10:25 last Friday evening when his window shattered and everything was suddenly covered with glass and debris. The missile was a potato. Carlisle Police arrested four young men, all residents of Billerica, who were fixing a flat tire on their pick-up truck in the Foss Field parking lot, after finding a potato gun and two bags of potatoes a short distance from the vehicle.

Sergeant Kevin Cardonne and Officer Stephen Mack arrived at the residence and found a five-inch round hole in the glass window and the screen blown out of the window and lying three feet away. "There was glass everywhere. You cannot believe how much glass there was!" said the homeowner, who did not wish to be identified. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Suspects apprehended

The resident remembered seeing a set of car lights going up towards Bedford Road at about the same time as the window was shattered. Shortly after learning that, Officer Mack located a Toyota pick up truck in the Foss Field parking lot with four young men standing around. The four denied any involvement with the Maple Street incident. It wasn't until Cardonne, who was still over on Maple Street, informed Mack that it appeared that the window had been shattered by a potato, that Mack looked into the rear of the truck and saw potato peelings and hair spray. (Hair spray is used to ignite a potato gun.) He looked for the potato gun and found it and the two bags of potatoes in the woods a short distance from the parking lot.

The four were subsequently charged with disorderly conduct, malicious damage to property, possession of an infernal machine, and trespass to Foss Field. The arrested men are Brian Bellis, 18, Robert S. Bartlett, 18, and Peter J. Bertrand, 19. They were held in the station until 2:05 a.m. when they were released on bail. The fourth person arrested was a juvenile and he was released into the custody of his parents. They were scheduled to appear in the Concord District Court on Monday for arraignment. Statements from the youths indicated that the family targeted was random.

Potato gun a powerful weapon

According to the police, the force generated by a potato gun is enormous It is capable of launching a projectile across a football field. The mere possession of an "infernal machine," which is the police category into which it falls, is a felony

Residents will remember a potato gun incident a few years ago in which a local youth received a serious eye injury.

A portion of this article was taken from a press release issued by the Carlisle Police Department.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito