, Salem, MA

August 28, 2013

Father-son sting nets possible vandal

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say a Salem Hospital employee’s 15-year-old son hid in the back of his truck with a videotaping device yesterday in an attempt to find out who had left the man vulgar notes and smeared the vehicle with peanut butter while it was parked on Heritage Drive.

Police were dispatched to Heritage Drive about 6:30 p.m. Monday after the man reported that the right side of his truck had been smeared with peanut butter while he was working a shift at the hospital, according to the incident log.

The man said that he parked on the street sometimes because his normal parking lot at the hospital was under construction and that several “vulgar” notes about him parking there had previously been left on his windshield.

At the time, an officer advised him to “park in the hospital-owned area to avoid any further incidents,” police wrote.

Instead, the man decided that “he wanted to apprehend the culprit,” so when he went to work yesterday morning, he parked the truck on Heritage Drive again — and left his 15-year-old son lying in the rear seat with an unidentified type of videotaping device, possibly a cellphone.

After he heard something outside, the youth started up the device and began recording images of a man “walking around the perimeter of the truck.” Then, he captured video of the man spitting on it.

“The man did not see the boy in the truck,” wrote police.

The father and son showed an officer the video after calling police back to Heritage Drive at 10:23 a.m.

The officer recognized the suspect as a homeowner of a nearby Highland Avenue address. He spoke with the suspect via phone later on, “however he was unable to speak with me and will return my call later today,” the officer wrote in the log.