Shoveling sparks dispute; one arrested

By Jenna Duncan
Globe Correspondent / February 3, 2011

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While this week’s storm was followed last night by a deep freeze, tempers are starting to heat up from the seemingly endless winter.

On Tuesday, two people shoveling on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay began arguing over throwing the snow, leading to the arrest of one of the men, according to Boston police.

William Plaza, 38, of Hyde Park, was arrested and charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon after a verbal argument broke out while both parties removed the snow. Police say Plaza threatened the other shoveler with knives. No one was physically injured, police said.

The person who was threatened, who was identified only as “the victim’’ in a police report, was removing snow from 175 Commonwealth Ave., while Plaza was shoveling at 173. Plaza threw snow onto the victim’s side, and after several occasions the victim reacted, beginning the verbal dispute, police said.

When the arguing ended, the victim resumed shoveling and Plaza went inside 173 Commonwealth. Soon after, police said, Plaza returned, brandishing two knives to confront the victim.

Plaza then stated, “It’s four on one, you guys throw the first punch and someone’s going to get stabbed,’’ police said.

Police said they could not explain what the phrase “four on one’’ might have meant.

At that time, another person called the police, causing Plaza to return inside 173 Commonwealth.

When officers responded around 6:40 p.m., the victim was behind the building and Plaza was in his car. He was then arrested, according to police.

Jenna Duncan can be reached at