7-8-20 Found Handgun

This Taurus 9 mm handgun, pictured at the Bartlett Police Department, was found by a boy at Diana’s Baths last Friday. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

BARTLETT— A visiting teenager found a gun in the water at Diana's Baths last week, said Conway police, who said the weapon appears to have been stolen in Rochester.

Diana's Baths is a series of pools and cascades managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The trailhead is off of West Side Road roughly 2 1/2 miles from North Conway Village.

News of the gun came to the Sun's attention when Conway Town Manager Tom Holmes mentioned it during the town manager's report portion of Tuesday's Conway selectmen's meeting.

"A young boy found a gun in the water," said Holmes.

He said the boy turned the gun into the parking attendants at the Baths, who called Conway Police. After determining that the Baths are actually in Bartlett, Conway PD turned the matter over to the Bartlett Police.

Bartlett Police Chief Christopher Keaton, citing a police report by Sgt. Richard Laferriere, confirmed that the handgun had been found last Friday at Diana's Baths by a 14-year-old boy at around 11:43 a.m.

Keaton said the gun is a 9 mm Taurus semiautomatic handgun.

"He told his parents about it, they took a picture of it in the water, and then they picked the gun up," said Keaton. "The father (identified as Richard Wheaton of Sharon) was able to take the magazine out of the weapon, but he was not able to work the slide on it because it was rusted shut."

Keaton declined to name the juvenile. He said the family was apparently there visiting for the holiday weekend.

The Sun attempted to reach Wheaton by phone and email without success.

Keaton said apparently the magazine didn't have bullets in it and determined that there was not a bullet in the chamber by measuring the depth of the barrel.

"When the barrel is, say, 4 inches long and you can only put something in 3 inches long that would tell you that there would be a bullet in the chamber," Keaton explained.

Laferriere ran the gun's serial number through the Carroll County Sheriff's Office computer system, which indicated the gun was from Rochester. Rochester police were notified that the gun was recovered.

According to Rochester Police, the gun was reported stolen in May of 2018 when the owner had noticed it was missing.

In other Diana's Baths news, Holmes said he received an email from the U.S. Forest Service praising the town's parking attendants for their handling of traffic at the Baths, where visitors routinely waited for over an hour to get a parking spot.

"My staff speaks very highly of the work your employees are doing at Diana's Baths this year," said the email from Assistant District Ranger Brian Johnston. "They are very effective in managing the traffic flow and have really positive attitudes."

However, Selectman Mary Carey Seavey said she took a complaint from a resident about the traffic situation.

"I listened to somebody for 45 minutes on the phone who wasn't happy," said Seavey, adding that the person was upset about the traffic and people parking on the road and double parking.

Holmes added that he got a request from a condominium owner who lives nearby who asked that the town have attendants at the Baths seven days a week rather than just weekends. However, Holmes said that would have cost $10,000 and created scheduling issues like keeping track of vacation days.

According to Holmes, over the busy holiday weekend, police had to give out "a heck of a lot of tickets" all over town as well as having cars towed from places like First Bridge and Davis Park.

Contrary to that statement, Conway Police Lt. Chris Mattei said eight tickets were issued at Diana's Baths and seven at Davis Park and no cars were towed. He also said no vehicles were ticketed or towed from First Bridge.

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