Emergency Dial 911, Portsmouth Police Department, 3 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Tel: (603) 427-1500

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Date of Release: 4 February, 2007

Reference: GPS Scavenger Hunting

On Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 12:50pm, the Portsmouth Police Department responded to a suspicious activity call in the back of Shaw’s Supermarket at Southgate Plaza. The reporting party advised the responding officer that someone had placed a suspicious item under one of the outside electrical panels that was attached to the wall.

The Officer found the item which was a small metallic case, duct taped and attached with a metallic base to the electrical panel. The Officer later determined that this metallic case was part of a game involved in a GPS scavenger hunt game as a “cache” or the prize to be found. These web based games utilize GPS systems to give a “player” the coordinates on where a cache will be found within a certain geographical area. One player places an item, logs the coordinates and provides these coordinates to other players on line, challenging them to find the cache.

On November 11, 2006 the Portsmouth Police responded to a similar suspicious activity call at the base of the Piscataqua River Bridge (Interstate 95). This call also involved a similar GPS based scavenger hunt game and the suspicious item found by Police was one of these “cache”.

It is imperative for those playing these games to understand that this reckless behavior will be prosecuted under the N.H. disorderly conduct statutes and possibly the criminal trespass statues. Placing suspicious items on private property, bridges, electrical panels to businesses etc. creates a condition that causes public alarm. This conduct can be felonious if it causes the evacuation of a building.

While we continue to investigate these incidents, we want those that are involved in these games to understand these are not innocent games of play and are causing public alarm. Hiding duct taped metal packages or like objects in remote areas on limited access property causes public alarm and may require substantial emergency services and precautionary evacuations to determine the threat level of the suspicious package.

Anyone with information concerning these local games, please contact Officer Wayne Boucher of the Portsmouth Police Department at 603-610-7629. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 603-431-1199 or leave a tip at www.seacoastcrimestoppers.org

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 Emergency Dial 911, Portsmouth Police Department, 3 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Tel: (603) 427-1500