Why have pink surgical gloves been showing up on Dracut streets?


DRACUT — Larry J. Morin first noticed the medical gloves on Old Road a few years ago. They would appear strewn on the street two, three and sometimes even four times a week.

“When we first started seeing them, it’d be anywhere from 10, 30, to 100 gloves. We were like, ‘What the hell is this all about?’ Like someone was trying to leave a message for someone else,” he recalled. “We don’t know where those gloves could have been.”

Morin, 61, of Dracut, said he also would sometimes see hypodermic needles among the gloves, most of which were pink. Concerned and determined to identify the person behind the littering, Morin launched an investigation with his better half, Joann Camilli, about two months ago. On Friday, the couple and other residents helped police catch a suspect.

Cynthia Johnson, 51, of Dracut, is the suspect in this case, according to Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett. Bartlett said on Monday that a criminal complaint from Lowell District Court requiring her to appear for a charge of littering is pending, adding that police believe Johnson is a visiting nurse.

The Sun was unable to reach Johnson at her home on School Street Tuesday. She did not answer the door when a reporter stopped by Tuesday morning. A business card was left for her. The Sun did not receive a call back from her and also attempted to reach Johnson through Facebook. On her page, Johnson lists Commonwealth Nursing Services, Inc. (CNS) as her employer. A message left at CNS was not returned Tuesday.

Morin said he and Camilli first narrowed down the time when the gloves were being thrown out to between 9 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. Then, they got the blessing from residents along Old Road to park their vehicles near where the gloves have appeared.

The gloves that appeared to be used were being thrown on the road between Trudel and Bolton Avenues, Bartlett said.

“We were staking out vehicles and we would sit somewhere on the side of the road,” he said. “Joann, believe it or not, was sitting on a lounge chair in between some hedges in a neighbor’s yard and we had our phones on to converse back and forth.”

According to Bartlett, Johnson was tracked down after police received a disturbance call at around 10:55 p.m. Friday from a female who said she was being followed by a party who she believed had a firearm. The party following Johnson was actually one of the residents trying to track down the person throwing gloves onto Old Road, Morin said. There was no gun, both Bartlett and Morin said.

Bartlett said the officer who spoke to Johnson saw pink gloves inside the vehicle.

“In the report it states that she wasn’t sure why she was doing it,” Bartlett said. “She just had to get them out of that car.”

Bartlett, who said officers have received complaints from residents in the area for “quite some time,” said he gives credit to the group of residents for helping police solve this case.

“We can’t be everywhere at the same time and we rely on the eyes and ears of the residents and businesses in the community to help us do our job,” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened in this case.”

Morin said he just wanted the littering to stop.

“With the hypodermic needles, it was just gross,” he said. “It just got to the point where it was grosser and grosser. People walk their dogs (there) … kids walk up and down that street. You don’t know where these things come from, what they were used for.”

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.