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Thousands of tires dumped in Norwich lot

Norwich - An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 tires were found dumped on city-owned land Wednesday behind the Dairy Queen restaurant on Route 12 in Taftville.

"Oh my God, I can't believe this," said Blight Control Officer Edward Martin as he arrived at the scene.

Martin climbed into the pile, looking for evidence indicating the source of the tires. He pulled out 10 tires and then roughly calculated the pile contained 2,000 to 2,500, about six truckloads. Some were marked "no good" with X's marking holes. Others had new tire labels still attached.

Police plan to check security cameras at local businesses. Martin called operators of several Norwich tire shops, who said they have reputable contractors to haul away used tires.

Based on interviews with people who live and work in the area, Martin estimated the tires all were dumped overnight Monday into Tuesday morning. One homeless man who lives in the woods nearby said the tires were not there at 10 p.m. Monday, but he saw them when he walked through the area Tuesday morning.

Fedeline Louis, who works at Dairy Queen, also said the tires were not there at 10 p.m. Monday, when she left work.

Martin estimated it could cost the city more than $5,000 to haul away the tires.

The tires were dumped in an opening in the woods between the rear of the Dairy Queen parking lot and the Providence & Worcester freight rail tracks that line the Shetucket River.

Martin said the area has been a site for minor amounts of illegal dumping. He said the city cleans out the area - usually needing only a pickup truck - once or twice a year. Two mattresses, an upholstered chair and a few other items lay near the tires.

"This kind of activity disgusts me," Mayor Peter Nystrom said. "To the fullest extent possible, we're going to find the perpetrators, and they are going to be prosecuted."

c.bessette@theday.com

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