NORTH ADAMS — A city man is facing charges after a "glitter bomb" he mailed to a neighbor in May resulted in the evacuation of the North Adams Police Department.
Although the suspicious package was only a prank pulled by Ashland Street resident Michael Dargie, 66, police say it caused a very real disruption.
About 11:02 a.m. on May 17, city resident Leigh Rose brought the suspicious package to the North Adams Police Department on Summer Street. She told officers she was fearful of the package's contents and believed it could be intended to cause her harm, according to the probable cause report filed by North Adams Police Det. Brad Vivori.
The package, which was shipped via the U.S. Postal Service from a P.O. Box in Fishers, Ind., contained a white cylinder. On the opening of the roughly six-inch long and 1.5-inch wide cylinder was a white piece of tape that said "open."
The cylinder, Rose noted, sounded like it contained a powder of some kind.
Police called North Adams firefighters to the scene. They used thermal imaging but still could not identify the cylinder's contents.
Officials made the decision to evacuate the police station and call the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad.
Meanwhile, Vivori tracked the P.O. Box to Tyler Levins, Eric Baker and the business "Plumbus LLC."
When reached by phone, Levins said he and Baker operate the online gag-gift business pranksanonymous.com. Levins described the white cylinder as a "glitter bomb" that, when opened, releases glitter.
Pranks Anonymous describes itself as the "#1 Glitter Bomb Website in the U.S."
"Once you get it, it explodes, and you will never get rid of it," the website's description of the glitter bomb states.
Levins confirmed to police that the company did ship a glitter bomb to Rose's Ashland Street apartment, ordered by Dargie.
Dargie initially denied sending any package but, after being read his Miranda Rights, he admitted to sending the glitter bomb, according to the police report.
He also allegedly had a message placed inside the glitter bomb that stated "your car will be next."
The package was meant as a "prank," Dargie allegedly told police. He accused Rose of harassing him for several years, although police noted that they have not received any reports of harassment from either Dargie or Rose.
The bomb squad later confirmed that the device was a glitter bomb and the police station was allowed to reopen.
Although the "seemingly harmless," police charge that the prank was directed at a specific person and intended to "harass and cause fear." It also disrupted public safety operations, the report notes.
Dargie was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty on Monday to single counts of use of a hoax substance or device, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace.
A charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was dismissed at a show-cause hearing prior to arraignment.
Dargie is next scheduled to appear Sept. 28 for a pretrial hearing.
Adam Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.