Monday November 12, 2012

ADAMS -- A portion of downtown Adams was evacuated for several hours early Sunday after police discovered suspicious material in the car of a man who was arrested for allegedly masturbating in public.

A worker at the Daily Grind restaurant on Park Street called police about 7:50 a.m. to report that a person in a green Subaru was acting suspiciously while parked in front of the business.

The employee later told the North Adams Transcript that the man appeared to be masturbating.

James V. Bourdon, 59, of Highland Avenue, West Springfield, was arrested after two officers, Thomas Cook and Joshua Baker, responded to the call. During a routine search of the vehicle, police discovered several "items of concern." Police declined to reveal what items in the vehicle prompted their concern.

Police closed off Park Street from Hoosac to Center streets, evacuating residents and closing down several businesses. About half the businesses are not open on Sunday, police said, which mitigated the evacuation.

A service at the First Congregational Church was canceled and the American Legion Post 160's Veterans Day ceremony, planned for 11 a.m. in front of the Town Hall, was moved to the Adams Visitor Center.

Traffic was diverted to Depot Street while Park Street was shut down.

After the street was sealed off, state Fire Marshall Michael Mazza and members of the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad were called in to investigate.

The investigation did not reveal anything that would have caused an explosion, police said. Police Chief Donald Poirot later confirmed that an "unsecured and loaded" rifle was confiscated from the vehicle. Bourdon has a valid firearms license.

Bourdon, who police said was in town visiting his parents, was charged with lewdness, open and gross indecent exposure and possession of an unsecured loaded weapon.

He was remanded to the Berkshire County House of Correction. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Virtually all the commercial buildings along the Park Street corridor have one or two or more floors of residential apartments. A police spokesman could not estimate the number of individuals who were briefly displaced.

The street was eventually reopened shortly after 11:30 a.m.

The investigation is ongoing, and further charges may be filed, police said.

New England Newspapers staffer Jennifer Huberdeau contributed to this story.