Tisbury School kid spots gun in backpack, arrest made

A sharp-eyed student helped police in a criminal matter. - Rich Saltzberg

Updated 10/31

The vigilance of a Tisbury School student helped Tisbury and West Tisbury Police seize marijuana from a suspect at a construction site Friday. The student was at a Franklin Street bus stop and spied what appeared to be a long gun protruding from someone’s backpack, according to Tisbury Police Lt. Bill Brigham. 

The student was able to capture the person wearing the backpack with a phone camera, and subsequently informed the Tisbury School resource officer, according to Lt. Brigham. Tisbury Police Det. Charles Duquette and West Tisbury Police Det. Nicholas Wojtkielo were able to track the person down to a construction site in West Tisbury, according to Lt. Brigham.

The gun turned out to be a pellet gun fashioned to look like an M4 rifle, Brigham said. However that didn’t end up being the alleged crime uncovered. The detectives found what Brigham described as a “significant” amount of marijuana. Brigham later described that amount as “close to” 1.5 pounds. 

The juvenile suspect, who originally gave a false name, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, criminal possession of marijuana, and impeding an investigation, according to a press release. The juvenile allegedly denied knowledge of “events” in the morning, and denied being captured in a video. Brigham said the pellet gun appeared to be lawful, but he questioned why it was transported so conspicuously. After it was discovered the suspect was a juvenile, the lawfulness of the pellet gun may have changed, Brigham said. Brigham later told The Times the individual arrested allegedly gave a false name to police. However, when fingerprints were taken, another name came through the system at the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office. That individual turned out to be a juvenile. The criminal process for juveniles is closed to the public in Massachusetts, to protect young people from scrutiny and stigma. Lt. Brigham confirmed that henceforth, information about this case will be restricted. Brigham also noted the Tisbury School was never under threat. 

We’ve removed the false name given to police. 


    • Nothing strange about this. It’s only legal to carry up to an ounce of marijuana, and you have to be 21 or older. The suspect is underage. According to police, he was allegedly in possession of a “significant” amount. With the exception of licensed retailers, intent to distribute is still prohibited.

  1. The kid saw a gun that resembled a a military style fully automatic assault rifle and an arrest was made.
    What was sensational?
    Should the headline have read pellet gun found and an arrest was made for a product sold in stores all over the State.

  2. Great work, Tisbury Police Department!
    One gun down, one more to go.
    And why didn’t Jim Donovan notify me about this TPD action?

    • Sorry, I had the weekend off. But you’ve proven once again you don’t need my help beating the same ol’ dead horse. Kudos to you.

  3. Problem is “dead horses” often end up at other crimes, sometimes with lethal results.
    I think one thing we can agree on is, all humor aside, the TPD have acted irresponsibly and continue to do so.
    The only thing missing from the front of the Water St station is one of those signs often placed in industrial buildings.
    “The Tisbury Police have have gone (fill in the blank) days without a lawsuit”

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