This tree has nothing to smile about – the boston globe

Every day, police officers respond to reports of all sorts of events and nonevents, most of which never make the news. Here is a sampling of lesser-known — but no less noteworthy — incidents from police log books (a. k.a. blotters) in our suburbs.

I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE . . .

. . . A poem lovely as a tree. If you passionately share that sentiment with the poet Joyce Kilmer, here’s an item that will not bring a smile to your face. At 11:36 a. m. March 24, Salem police sent an officer

to Cedar Street to investigate a report of malicious damage to a city tree. The report was accurate: Someone had drilled “several quarter-sized holes” in the tree’s trunk — in the shape of a smiley face. No one witnessed the act of vandalism, and there were no immediate suspects.

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HALLELUJAH THE HOCKEY!

At 11:53 p. m. March 20, Saugus police received a call from the manager of Kelly’s Roast Beef on Route 1 reporting a man dressed up as Jesus was running in and out of traffic on the southbound lanes of that heavily traveled thoroughfare. By the time officers arrived, the darting figure had disappeared, but they were able to determine the precise reason he’d gotten religion that night — Malden Catholic’s ascension to the Super 8 hockey title earlier that evening.

HERE’S A WHOPPER

On April 3, diners and hungry motorists at a Burger King restaurant in Wareham got an unpleasant surprise when a small truck in the drive-through line caught on fire. The driver didn’t realize what was happening, but another customer behind the truck spotted the flames and promptly dialed 911. The eatery was evacuated, as the fire spread to its exterior. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, but not before they caused about $20,000 in damage to the structure. The very good news: No one was hurt.

EYES ARE EVERYWHERE

At 5:41 p. m. March 11, Acton police were told a suspicious-looking man wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt was repeatedly crossing Main Street near Town Hall. Suspicious? Well, he was behaving oddly, but with reason: He was actually an Acton police detective out to catch drivers ignoring the rules on pedestrians in crosswalks. “We have plainclothes officers walking in the crosswalks,’’ said Deputy Chief Rich Burrow in an e-mail, “and if they observe any violators, they call ahead to the cruisers stationed in the area’’ and the violators are stopped and ticketed.

NOT ALL THE ACTION WAS IN THE MARTIAL ARTS CLASS

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At 6:02 p. m. March 25, Beverly police responded to a report of a disruptive parent at a martial arts school on Cabot Street. According to the log entry, the mother of a student there got into a confrontation with an employee, scattered papers about in her anger, and then suggested she and the worker settle their differences in the parking lot. The officer dispatched to the scene spoke to the woman and had an entirely different suggestion: If she couldn’t behave appropriately, she would have to remove her son from the program.

BUT OFFICER, THE GAS PUMPS MOVED

Just before 2 p. m. March 28, an employee at a Lexington gas station called police to report an ongoing and heated dispute with a female customer. The woman’s car had hit one of the gas pump islands, an officer soon learned, and the woman wanted the gas station to pay for the damage to her vehicle, arguing the station was responsible. Police advised her otherwise, and her vehicle was towed.

BRIDGE OVER UNTROUBLED WATERS

At 4:08 p. m. April 2, Beverly police received a report of a man with his head slumped over a bridge railing on Cabot Street near the Salem line. Officers arrived three minutes later and discovered that the fellow was just admiring the view.

AH, SPRING

Close readers of this column know spring doesn’t just bring showers , flowers , and this year, very occasional bursts of warmth . It also brings more calls to police reporting people wandering about in various states of undress. One sighting occurred in Newton April 8, when officers were dispatched to Newton Centre just before 6 p. m. for such a report. And it was true enough: They found a 33-year-old resident prancing about on the sidewalk near a church, completely naked. The offender was to be summonsed to Newton District Court on charges of

open and gross lewdness and assaulting ambulance personnel.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe. com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.