The sound of explosions started over a year ago, with what seemed to be professional-grade fireworks. Now, one woman said, the culprits seem to have moved on to pipe bombs, but the source of the alarming noises besieging Montauk — the most recent of them heard on Sunday evening north of the Montauk Firehouse — remains a mystery.
Sunday’s explosion was heard toward the Montauket on Tuthill Road, and though some claim to know who is responsible, East Hampton Town police have yet to make any arrests.
Many of those who commented for this story asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation with a bomb set on their lawn. And many pointed to one couple living near Gravesend Avenue and Greenwich Street whom they suspect are responsible, though none would name the pair.
According to East Hampton Town police, the apparent explosives have been set off in a number of areas of the hamlet, including Second House Road, the golf course at the Montauk Downs State Park, West Lake Drive, and several beaches.
Many residents have reported calling the police about the noises, but the Montauk Precinct commander, Lt. Chris Hatch, said there have been surprisingly few calls.
Lieutenant Hatch said that the police have been investigating for the last three months. Fireworks have been confirmed, but, citing confidentiality, he declined to say who made that confirmation. He said that despite the reports coming in to the department there has been nothing that has led police to the perpetrators.
Officers have heard the explosions and have responded to the areas where they believed they originated, but have found nothing, he said, adding, “the explosives occur without warning and leave no evidence.”
The noises sound like a house exploding, Gail Simons wrote in an online forum, and are louder than anything she’s ever heard. Her children cry out in fear and huddle in corners and her dogs go running for cover. It is the female half of the couple who often sets off the explosives, Ms. Simons claimed, sometimes from her own backyard and sometimes near her place of work by West Lake Drive.
The worst of the bunch came right before Christmas, said Vicki Rudolph. She saw a flash and within a second her whole house shook. Her 10-year-old daughter was terrified and screamed, “ ‘Mommy, Mommy where are you?’ She thought I was hurt,” she said.
The blasts usually occur at night around 10 p.m., but there have been a few during the day. In summer, the noises stopped.
Kim Gatti said she feels as if she’s living in a war zone, with the sounds of bombs and gunshots.
Some have speculated that the noises are coming from the Long Island Power Authority’s substation on Industrial Road. But Mark Gross, a spokesman for LIPA, disputed that, saying that if a piece of equipment failed it would make a loud popping sound and would also cause electrical outages, none of which have been reported. He said that the frequency at which residents are hearing the noises also indicates they could not be from the station. “No, it’s not us,” he said.
Lieutenant Hatch said he’s worried that the people setting off the explosives will eventually have an accident or an explosive will land on someone’s house. Since the department began investigating, police have found no evidence, such as burn marks or burned mailboxes. “We hope that the public will assist us and forward all information immediately,” he said.