At approximately 1 PM on September 9, Chatham Borough Police received numerous 911 calls reporting two male subjects walking on River Road dressed in dark clothing with their faces partially covered carrying 'machine guns'. Chief Crosson, Lt. Gibbons, Sgt. O'Connor and Patrolman Walsh all responded to the scene with the assistance of the Chatham Township Police Department and located the two individuals in front of the 5K Deli. The two individuals were identified as 12 year old and 13 year old boys from the area. They stated that were playing with 'Air Soft' pellet guns and walked to the deli. The guns were taken from the boys for safekeeping pending contact with the boys' parents. This is the second recent incident that the Chatham Borough Police were called to investigate reports of someone walking on the streets with guns. On August 10 a resident of Main Street reported several youths walking near the Middle School with a gun. 3 youths were apprehended with an Air Soft gun on school grounds. The gun was taken from the boys and they were turned over to their parents.
Chief Crosson would like to remind parents that Chatham Borough has an Ordinance prohibiting the discharge of weapons in the Borough to include the popular 'Air Soft' type weapons. Any reports of people with guns are taken very seriously and the police will take appropriate law enforcement actions. The Chief would also like to remind parents that even though Air Soft type weapons in and of themselves are not illegal, the mere possession of them in public creates a potentially dangerous environment for everyone. Residents/motorists who witness individuals out in the community with firearms often call the police in a panicked state offering very little information other than they observed a person carrying a gun. These calls are taken very seriously by the police department and we immediately mobilize all available resources quickly to secure public safety. Police responses to weapons calls are handled expeditiously and taken very seriously until we can secure the scene. These types of calls put everyone at risk but more so the individuals possessing the weapons as they are handled as live firearm calls until we can determine otherwise which, in most cases, is not until after the individuals are secured by the responding police officers. Remember, police officers respond to gun calls where the individuals are carrying real guns and from a distance an officer may not see that small orange tip on the Air Soft gun. Let's keep our children safe - guns of any kind are not toys, especially guns that look real and fire projectiles.