Police & Fire

Youths With Bolt Cutters Released After Questioning by Police on Hanover Street

At least two black youths, one with bolt cutters, were questioned on Tuesday night on Hanover Street (near Parmenter) in Boston’s North End. A gun (8/8/13 update: plastic gun) was also found behind the rear tire of a nearby van. A neighborhood man allegedly heard the gun hit the ground when he was walking near them. The men were seen coming up Richmond Street.

Police released them because the gun (8/8/13 update: later identified as a plastic gun) was not in their possession at the time and it is legal to carry bolt cutters. Witnesses report the men, at least one who may have been homeless, said “bye Italianos” and were laughing when they were let go. Linda Riccio shares this video of the scene from Hanover Street.

Please note that this post was updated on August 8, 2013 with information from the police report:
Investigate Person
08/06/13 11:31pm
Police Officers responded to a disturbance on Parmenter St. The male victim felt threatened by the suspect whom he thought had a knife but it turned out to be a pen. Suspect also had in his possession bolt cutters. At Hanover St. where the suspects (2) were detained, the Police Officers recovered a plastic replica gun under a rear passenger tire of a van parked there.

25 Replies to “Youths With Bolt Cutters Released After Questioning by Police on Hanover Street

  1. “It is legal to carry bolt cutters.”

    Not entirely true. In most states, bolt cutters are considered a burglary tool. You can be charged with possession of a burglary tool if you have them on you, but only if it can also be shown you have an intent to use it. Unfortunately, MA happens to be one of those states that requires possession plus intent.

  2. The officers stated they had no grounds to arrest them even though bolt cutters and a firearm were both found at the scene. I watched the whole thing and it was not taken seriously by the officers. This is a disgrace and the officers on duty failed to do their job last night. We now have 3 men that walked free who had the intent of pulling off an armed burglary or robbery.

    1. Really they failed to do their duty?? This might be the most absurd thing I have read. What more can they do besides question them?? I mean honestly you must have a law degree and know the law better than any one because last time I checked it isn’t illegal to have bolt cutters in your possession. Also the gun was not in there possession it was nearby so who knows whose gun it was. You can’t arrest someone because the look like they are going to be “pulling off an armed robbery”.

      1. I think your response needs a minor clarification – because it can be illegal to have bolt cutters in your possession, but if (and only if) it can also be shown that there is an intent to use them for a burglary. Because the officers were probably unable to show the intent piece (although one can take a educated guess at why someone might be carrying them around late at night), they had no choice but to let them go.

        1. Your ONLY IF is entirely misplaced. Could be a weapon for an A&B Dangerous Weapon, among a host of other crimes. Nice try to be lawyer for the moment, Susan.

          1. I think you mistake the intent/meaning of my post. Personally, I think they should have been charged with something. The point I was trying to make was that in and of itself, it’s not illegal to carry around bolt cutters unless you can also show there was an intent to use them in a burglary, in which case, then it becomes illegal to have them.

            PS. Your argument that bolt cutters could be a weapon for an assault and battery fails – because “could be” is not the standard, they actually have to be used in an assault to be considered a weapon. A baseball bat could be considered a weapon too, but only if you are using it on someone, not simply carrying it. A shod foot is also a weapon, but only when you are kicking or stomping on someone with it.

    2. Anthony, I agree with you. I just don’t get how anyone can think someone walking around with bolt cutters late at night doesn’t intend to use them to do something illegal. I mean, most people don’t go carrying around a pair of bolt cutters for the heck of it. There is a reason why almost every state considers them burglary tools.

      If I had to take a guess why someone might have them, my first thought would be for use to cut chains on bikes or motor scooters kept outside. But apparently, you can do everything short of being caught in the act and still not get charged with anything.

  3. The bolt cutters where found hidden under a car in a private drive way, the fire arm was found under a van on hanover street three parked cars away from suspects. Witnesses said they saw the suspects with yellow bolt cutters, the suspects denied having bolt cutters until it was found under a car, Suspects then admitted the tool was theirs. I’m sorry you seem confused “huh??”

    1. Since when is a crime to have a super soaker??? This is the problem here. Everyone jumps to conclusions because they are looking for a reason to complain. So any black male carrying a pen and super soaker should be arrested now? Maybe you should get your facts right before we start blaming the police for not being professional

  4. Look, I get it – folks who don’t live in the North End congregating near where a gun and bolt cutters are found admitting to the cutters being theirs… yes, that obviously looks like this all has something to do with them.

    What it looks like to a bystander or what I may suspect has nothing to do with the rule of law. What legal grounds would the police have been able to use to make arrests here? Saying ‘obviously the gun was theirs’ and actually proving it are two completely separate things.

    If you don’t like it, why not bring back the wiseguys? Although I’m pretty sure they knocked out more than a few innocent teeth in their day.

    1. How naive are you? How many random guns and bolt cutters have you come across walking the north end streets?

      I get the legal issues but step 1 is identify the threat/suspects. We want to know who to look out for. Sure, some “innocent teeth were knocked out”, but I bet significantly more kept their teeth and were never even investigated by the bpd.

  5. Call it profiling.. I plead guilty as charged. But 3 black kids from Dorchester walking around this neighborhood with a gun and bolt cutters nearby is about as suspicious as it gets. Take them into custody, separate them and find out the real story. Profiling works. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and there are feathers all over the place – it’s usually a duck. Sometimes it’s that simple.

    1. I’ve lived here for 3 years. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a group of black youths strolling through the neighborhood late at night. One was the BC basketball team on a team outing for dinner!! There are very few black tourists. There are practically NO black residents. Can you name more than a few?

      And then it turns out they’re from Dorchester, a gun was nearby and they had bolt cutters with them. How many red flags do we need for an arrest?

      Some will call me racist and that’s fine, but when something is CLEARLY out of place – it’s just common sense, guys. Why are they here with a gun and bolt cutters nearby late at night when they clearly don’t live here?? They’re not on the way home from work. Did they bring their bolt cutters along for the trip for a piece of pizza? Enough of the politically correct nonsense – when situations don’t add up, the police need to use common sense and thoroughly investigate. A couple of very public arrests in a situation like this and they’ll stay away. It sounds like they laughed at the cops as they were let go.

  6. Sorry but the new north end is or was the old north end the old north end is dead and will never come back the cops did the right thing and did it by the book

    See what the big problem is no one went to the cop and told them what they had seen it someone would of this story would of never been here

    So next time you see something and call the cop go to them and tell them what you seen this way they can do a arrest it’s called ( a witness. ) so please next time stand up and not hide and you will not have this problem with the cop letting some one go free

    By the way I am all so a north ender I grew up here but moved away but am and will all ways be a north ender and still come down a lot and have seen it change over the years

  7. Maybe this is a foolish question~~~~Why couldn’t these 3 young people be held on suspicion until the gun and bolt cutters be checked for fingerprints???? There is so much fear and tension around with Racism~~~ that it got Crazy !! That would be the first thing that would be said~~~”because of their race~~they were profiled” !!!
    ANY 3 or 4 youths in that same situation, warrants MORE EXPLANATIONS with the Police !!

  8. I read the remarks of the person who left the comment that” it isn’t illegal to carry a bolt cutter” While that is politically and technically correct a mixture of common sense and street smarts would tell you that these thugs were on their way to steal bicycles and when they spotted the law they discarded the gun and the bolt cutters.And I refer to them as thugs for their disrespect to the police and their Italiano comment.

  9. Please note this post was updated on August 8, 2013 with information from the police report of the incident:

    Investigate Person
    08/06/13 11:31pm
    Police Officers responded to a disturbance on Parmenter St. The male victim felt threatened by the suspect whom he thought had a knife but it turned out to be a pen. Suspect also had in his possession bolt cutters. At Hanover St. where the suspects (2) were detained, the Police Officers recovered a plastic replica gun under a rear passenger tire of a van parked there.

  10. Listen, WE ALL know that they were up to no good. I’m sure the Police took their names ( I hope ) and see if they had warrants. And if that statement is true they made a remark, then we are in trouble. Pat on the backs for those who saw them and called the Police. The best thing is and what I do, I stand there, they don’t a witness and wait till the Police show up and I tell anyone walking by what I think they are doing and now they stop. But those who laugh at toy guns, would you laugh if they pointed that at you or your mother and it was painted black and did not know. A robbery is a robbery and a policeman told me if they did use that toy gun in a robbery, it would be an armed assault, since they intended to put the fear in the victim. This is feast season, we have to keep our eyes open even more. The society’s are not going to have anyone out there, their too busy drinking.

    1. Jane, your right on the money they were not there looking for a quaint bistro to dine in.If my theory is correct and they were there to steal bikes and the owner of the bike confronted them he or she could have been seriously hurt or worse.

    2. Hi Jane –

      I agree with you about the seriousness of items, such as a toy gun, that could be used to commit a crime. The laughter was simply amusement over the hysteria (some racially motivated commenters) and the resulting informational updates, particularly the toy gun detail.

      1. People are concerned over strangers coming into their neighborhood with bolt cutters and obviously evil intent. Does that make me a “racially motivated commenter”?

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