Saturday, August 9, 2008

Big Time Crime in Small Town Dover

So, I decided to explore downtown Dover today. I left my house around noon and headed out to drop off some dry cleaning, which will cost me about $17 for two pieces. One's a coat so I guess that's fair? I don't know, I never dry clean my things so I don't know what's cheap, what's pricey, or what's a good deal. I headed into Dover with a few set goals: 1) Explore downtown and take some pictures (coming up), 2) Stop by Allstate to switch my renters insurance (they were closed), and 3) Stop by the library to get my card (they were also closed).

So I was cruising up Central Avenue and saw flashing lights from a Dover squad car parked in the intersection just before the train tracks. There was a cop diverting traffic and yellow police tape stretched out across all four lanes -- a pretty serious sight. I took a left and found a place to park across from the movie theatre. This worked well because the lot was centrally located to the places I wanted to explore and I've been wanting to check out ticket prices. $6 matinee. Still pricey compared to College Station's lovely $3.50 afternoon show, but whatever, I'm a movie goer so I'll likely pay while I can.

The first thing I noticed after climbing out of my car was the yellow strip of police tape running just in front of the headlights. Now, you could probably think a variety of things when encountering police tape at least 250 feet from the actual cops. You might think that you should get back into your car and park somewhere else. Not me.

What did I think?

Simple... dead pedestrian in the street.

What else was I supposed to think? Maybe I've seen too many CSI and Law and Order episodes. Or maybe it was because Dover has this intense pedestrian rule where they have the right-of-way at all times, but I really did figure that someone had been hit by a car and lay dead in the middle of Central. I even craned my neck looking for a white sheet along the asphalt, but there wasn't one. Now normally, I might have joined the other onlookers, but I didn't want to seem crude or annoying, so I walked on trying my best to eavesdrop on those who were standing around talking about what was going on. I didn't overhear much, so I continued down the street, looking at shops, taking photographs like a tourist, receiving a boisterous "Welcome to Dover" when I admitted that I was new to town when a couple asked me where the Chop Shop was, and all the while fighting this grand desire to be a looky-loo, nosey neighbor and return to the edge of the tape to see what I could see.

I explored for a while, took some random shots of downtown and then finally made my way back up to the Cafe on the Corner, where I decided to have lunch after hearing about their decent sandwiches, which were excellent. The cafe is also about a block from the police tape. The moment I walked in, all of my questions to the hubbub were answered when a brown-haired lady on her cellphone said:

"Yeah, there was a bomb threat in downtown Dover."

BOMB threat!

And a legitimate one I think. There was a youngish cop getting coffee, very "chill" (New England term; Texans don't say this) about the whole thing -- perhaps too chill -- as were several people standing within a block of the detonation site (or sitting a block from the detonation site as I was.) And it (later called a "suspicious device") was detonated by the way... I'm almost positive that I heard a loud boom, but was down by the roaring falls of the Cochecho River so maybe not. I figured, if people aren't running from the area in absolute terror, I shouldn't worry about it. My sister, who I called with a slightly inappropriate level of excitement, said one word to me: "Abort." Haha, she wanted me to run -- whatever, I'm adventurous now! I stayed put, ate my turkey melt sandwich, read the paper, and casually glanced out the cafe windows.

The event did make the local paper: Downtown Reopens After Suspicious Device "Neutralized". So... this "chill" event seemed pretty exciting to me overall, and just reaffirms the fact that you really aren't safe anywhere.

Photos: (Top): The bomb squad truck? Not sure, but this is the intersection that was blocked off. (Middle Two): This is the Cocheco Falls Millwork, the Cochecho River (I'm starting to wonder if one of those signs downtown might have been misspelled) runs under Central Avenue and pours beneath the mill with a powerful display of force. It's pretty beautiful, but smells kinda off. (Bottom Two): A building downtown and the Spinelli-Strand Theatre.

In other news:
  • I finally made it to Portsmouth, NH, with another friend that I met and stayed with when in Dover back in March. That city is definitely worth exploring a little more. Now, did I see cobblestones? Ummm no. Maybe I wasn't in the cobblestone-y part of town? It was pretty quaint though and I'll definitely go back for some more in-depth exploration.

  • Received my first box of DVDs today sometime. There was a HUGE split in the box. I'm talking huge, I could see the contents very clearly. Luckily all DVDs were accounted for. I don't have a place for them at the moment, so I'm not really sure what I want to do in that regard.

  • My last Texas electricity bill came in the mail today with a grand total of $138. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that again.
  • Bernie Mac died today from pneumonia; he was 50. I liked some of his movies so this is a pretty sad day. Fifty is too young to pass. He was good for a laugh most of the time. It's always sad when someone who brings joy moves on.

1 comment:

Speak Coffee said...

wow - sounds exciting. I remember getting a lot of bomb drill practice in HS because of phoned in threats, however I can't recall ever hearing of a "neutralized device" locally. Great adventure!

But what is similarly scary is that high schools are now doing lock down drills. When I was a student it was bomb drills that were the new thing, but now it's lock down drills designed to impede and stop a Virginia Tech style shooting. Yikes.

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