Hingham Police are encouraging people to be cautious around suspicious-looking devices, after a man brought what looked to be a missile into the Hingham Police Station on Sunday.
According to police, a 57-year-old man from Braintree had been dumpster diving for scrap metal on Keith Way, a road that abuts the Derby Street Shoppes, when he found the device.
The man thought the item, described by police as a two-foot long “military projectile,” might be dangerous and brought it to the police station at around 1:46 p.m. After the man entered the station, the device was immediately brought outside.
“It’s a device that’s potentially harmful and not something you want to be in possession of or have in a building like that,” Hingham police Sergeant Steven Dearth said of the incident, which happened on a floor below the town’s Emergency Dispatch Center.
The device was placed on the grass in front of Town Hall, and the town’s Fire Department, along with the Massachusetts State Bomb Squad, were called in to investigate.
The front entrance of the police station was closed off, though fortunately, most of the building was unoccupied due to Sunday hours.
According to Dearth, the State Police did not detonate the device and took it with them. The parking lot was reopened at 3:08 p.m.
“We didn’t receive any response back from the State Police, nor would be expect to [about what the device was]. It’s more safekeeping,” Dearth said.
Police were unsure where the item could have come from, but said it didn’t appear to have been buried.
“It’s a dumpster - anyone could have access to on Keith Way. It could have been dumped by anybody, but it could have been from a cleaned out storage unit [nearby],” Dearth said. He noted that Keith Way is close to a rental storage facility.
Although the man was correct in notifying notifying police, officers say that anyone who sees a suspicious item should not touch it.
“The man was trying to do the right thing. He thought it was dangerous. He wanted to turn it over… but we encouraged people if you see something like that, leave it where it is and call us…[it’s] not something we want brought into an occupied building,” Dearth said. “He’s also picking it up and transporting it in his car. There’s a potential for danger.”
Dearth said that although areas of Hingham – such as Wompatuck State Park and Bare Cove Park – used to be ammunition depots, having potential explosives show up is a rarity in the town.
“We haven’t seen that in a long, long time. You’re talking years ago before certain areas of Wompatuck were cleaned up…but that hasn’t happened since I’ve been here 20 years,” Dearth said. “It’s not something we encounter regularly. There could be stuff buried, but that’s not this at all.”