WOONSOCKET — For the second time this year, the police broke up an after-hours party involving booze, pot and a horde of minors inside the Bonin Spinning complex Sunday.
It was a chaotic scene as police arrived at the 1265 Mendon Road mill about 12:50 a.m. and many of the revelers began scattering on foot or racing through the bumpy parking lot in motor vehicles to escape.
Most apparently succeeded, though 19 were captured and briefly detained at police headquarters, including 13 juveniles. Witnesses told police as many as 80 individuals are thought to have attended the party after learning about it on Facebook and through word of mouth.
“In walking through the building we could smell the odor of fresh-burnt marijuana and alcoholic beverage,” reported Patrolman Matthew Oliver.
Music was playing from a stereo and the premises were littered with articles of clothing and half-consumed containers of hard liquor that were abandoned by party-goers, according to Oliver.
Seven police officers responded to the mill after police received an anonymous tip that drugs were being consumed in the building, police said.
It took hours for the police to discharge all the juveniles who were detained to the custody of their parents, but not as long as it took in April, when police arrested some 56 people after a similar after-hours party at the mill.
In the latter case, police lodged trespassing and other charges against the participants, but most of the charges ended up being withdrawn at District Court. This time no one was charged with any offense directly related to his or her participation in the party.
The decision was based on the department’s experience after breaking up the first party at the mill earlier this year, said Police Chief Tom Carey.
Carey said it appears that both parties were held in a section the mill leased to Bonin Amusements and organized through someone who may work for the company. The distributor of pool tables, video games, juke boxes and other commercial entertainment gear has leased space in the mill for over a decade.
“The amusement company, they’re the ones that coordinated the party, so when you look at it from a legal standpoint there was actually no trespassing,” said the chief.
But Carey said he intends to call a meeting with Michael Laplume, the owner of Bonin Amusements, and urge him to take measures to prevent employees from gaining unauthorized access to the building. It appears that whoever organized the party had a key to the premises and allowed people to enter the building without permission from the owner. There were no signs of a forced entry.
Carey said he also intends to ask Leo Beaudoin, the owner of the mill complex, to take part in the meeting, because Beaudoin has a responsibility to control what takes place on his property, even a portion that is leased to someone else. Bonin Amusements is one of about a dozen businesses that lease space from Beaudoin in the sprawling complex at the corner of Mendon Road and Aylsworth Avenue — one of the most prominent of the remaining 19th century mill sites in the city.
“This is the second time it’s happened and clearly it’s not a spur of the moment thing,” said Carey. “It was clearly planned out and we don’t need problems like that.”
It’s imperative that such illicit gatherings be nipped in the bud, said Carey, because they pose an increased risk for automobile accidents caused by impaired, inexperienced drivers or even a mill fire.
Though no one was charged with under-aged drinking or trespassing, the party breakup did result in one arrest by the end of the night. Police said they charged a 17-year-old boy with disorderly conduct for creating a disturbance inside police headquarters as other juveniles were being released to their parents.