Update Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012: The North Adams Transcript is reporting that James V. Bourdon was released on personal recognizance Tuesday after appearing in Northern Berkshire District Court. Bourdon reportedly had taped a note to his car saying it was rigged to explode. A carbon dioxide tank and jumper cables were also discovered in the car. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 12.
Above, police remove a rifle from James V. Bourdon's car on Park Street. Left, Fire Chief Paul Goyette, left, and Police Chief Donald Poirot explained the situation to reporters Sunday afternoon.
ADAMS, Mass. — A West Springfield man is being held by Adams Police in connection with an incident that forced the closure of Park Street (Route 8) on Sunday morning.
James V. Bourdon, 59, of Highland Avenue in West Springfield has been charged with lewdness, open and gross indecent exposure and possession of an unsecured loaded weapon in his vehicle, which was parked in front of the Daily Grind.
Park Street was closed from 7:50 until 11:38 a.m. after officers responding to a report of a person acting suspiciously in a parked car "observed some things that aroused their suspicion," Adams Police Chief Donald Poirot said in a 1 p.m. news conference.
Eventually the State Police bomb squad was called to the scene and area residents were evacuated. But — without revealing what was found in the car — Poirot indicated that the situation was not as potentially disastrous as many may have feared.
"There were several things in the vehicle, but there was not anything that — at this time — indicates that it could have caused any major catastrophe to the community," Poroit said.
Both Poirot and Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the road closure and evacuation were necessary precautions and steps they would take again in the same circumstances.
Police were first called at 6:58 Sunday morning with a report of a "suspicious person in a motor vehicle," Poirot said. Officers Thomas Cook and Joshua Baker responded to the report and arrested Bourdon.
Park Street was evacuated Sunday because of the threat.
Based on what they saw in the car, the police officers contacted the Adams Fire Department, and Goyette was called to the scene, Poirot said. Goyette called the state fire marshal's office.
The State Police bomb squad was brought in by helicopter. After the area was cleared just before noon, the bomb squad was recalled to the eastern end of the commonwealth, where it was scheduled to supply routine support during Sunday's home game for the New England Patriots, Goyette said.
Bourdon was in the Adams lockup on Sunday afternoon. He had not been arraigned, no bail was set and he did not have legal representation at the time of Sunday afternoon's news conference, Poirot said.
Poirot said Bourdon did not have a criminal record before Sunday. It is believed he was in Adams to visit family in the area.
The state fire marshal's office is conducting an investigation. Poirot said he and Goyette were not at liberty to discuss what was found in Bourdon's vehicle, other than to say there was a licensed but loaded and unsecured firearm that led to one of the charges against Bourdon.
"It was a case of erring on the side of caution for the community," Goyette said. "When the situation presented itself, there was enough of a thought in my mind for public safety, and we're always going to err on the side of public safety in this community.
"The people on Park Street were asked to evacuate, as Chief Poirot said, several businesses were closed down, and a [First Congregational] church service was canceled."
The Adams Visitors Center was opened for evacuees.
An armored officer examines the suspect vehicle.
Poirot and Goyette emphasized repeatedly in their 15-minute news conference that the steps they took in closing down and evacuating the heart of town were precautionary. Poroit praised the residents and business owners for their cooperation in clearing the scene while the vehicle was examined.
Poirot also dispelled a rumor that Bourdon had made statements to authorities indicating he had a bomb.
"When State Fire Marshal Mike Mazza arrived on the scene, and Chief Goyette and I debriefed him on the situation and what we were dealing with, he made the statement, 'Textbook,' " Poirot said. "That made me feel real proud of everything that was taking place and how it was handled and making sure nobody was injured."
This article is an update from a brief posted earlier Sunday that relayed unconfirmed reports of a bomb threat. The headline has been adjusted to indicate there was no threat made of using an explosive device.
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