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    Divers recover stolen safe from frigid waters of Pawcatuck River

    WESTERLY — Divers from the Westerly Ambulance Corps had an unusual mission Monday afternoon when they were called on to use their expertise in “rescuing” a safe from the Pawcatuck River.

    The safe, according to Westerly Police Chief Edward St. Clair, is part of an investigation into property taken during a break-in at a doctor’s office at 28 Wells St. over the weekend.

    A thief or thieves left with the safe, which contained a few blank prescription slips but no money or drugs, he said.

    No other details were available as detectives continue to work on the case, St. Clair said Monday.

    Westerly Ambulance Corps Chief Bethany Gingerella, along with a crew, donned protective suits and braved cold temperatures to bring the safe onto Canal Street from the water where Westerly Police Department detectives were waiting to take the evidence back to the station.

    Gingerella said she was actually perspiring as she and her partners worked to haul in the catch. Divers used heavy ropes on reels with hooks to tie the safe, then worked to crank the winch to bring the heavy box onto the bank of the river.

    Meanwhile, traffic, including school buses, tried to make its way past the scene shortly after 3 p.m. on a busy Canal Street. Many drivers caused mini-jams as they stopped to watch the divers in bright yellow gear climb out of the frigid water.

    Police and divers had been following the safe’s uneasy passage for a couple of hours before they were able to nab it near the Stillman Avenue Bridge.

    Except for the water pouring out of it, the safe was open and empty as it was brought up and placed in a police vehicle.

    aalgier@thewesterlysun.com



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