A bullet hole in an above-ground swimming pool led police to an indoor pot operation in Montauk last month, resulting in multiple criminal charges for a Montauk couple, including felony marijuana possession, according to a report released Tuesday by the East Hampton Town Police Department.
“It was just good police work by the officers,” Detective Lt. Chris Anderson, who often acts as spokesman for the department, said on Tuesday. The good police work began on June 7 when an officer, David Martin Jr., was sent to a house on Gilbert Road during a heavy rainstorm to investigate a small round hole that had let out the water in the swimming pool. Looking into it, Officer Martin noticed something at the bottom, which turned out to be a small caliber bullet.
Joined by a second officer, Timothy Lamprecht, the two began trying to figure out where the bullet had come from. Considering that it may have come from a neighboring backyard, at 257 Fairview Avenue, they found that the house there was behind 12-foot, overgrown hedges.
Knocking on the front door of the Fairview Avenue house, Officer Martin spoke with one of the residents, William Evans, 62. Meanwhile, Officer Lamprecht reported finding a bullet shell in between deck boards at the back of the property, which, the police report said, matched the bullet found in the pool. But he also saw something else — a potted pot plant “in plain sight.” Although what Mr. Evans told the officers has been redacted from the police report, he apparently admitted that he had hand guns in the house, and led them to a back room where he gave the officer the gun that had put the hole in the neighbor’s pool, police said. Here police found several small marijuana plants under a grow light, according to the report.
In the course of interviewing Mr. Evans, along with the other resident of the house, Patricia M. Felden, 57, police found two unregistered pistols in the living room, a work room with more marijuana growing under a light, a plastic bag of cannabis, and a pipe, next to a bed.
Because much of the report is redacted, the exact sequence of events is not clear. According to the couple’s attorney, Gordon Ryan of Montauk, the pair were “fully cooperative with the police,” who then searched the house. Mr. Evans and Ms. Felden were arrested on multiple charges, the most serious being possession of over eight ounces of marijuana, a class E felony, which is triggered when a defendant is said to possess between eight ounces and one pound of the illegal substance. Both also face misdemeanor gun possession charges, and Mr. Evans has been charged with criminal mischief, another misdemeanor.
Mr. Ryan said the bullet hole was an accident, that Mr. Evans had been shooting at rabbits who were attracting foxes that were frightennig his dogs. Mr. Ryan also said that Mr. Evans collected guns, including antique guns, and that, except for the two pistols, they were all properly registered. Police confiscated the collection, pending the outcome of the case.
The couple were arraigned on June 27 and released on $250 bail.