Practical joker's 'shark' creates a scene in Massachusetts

John Moss

A practical joker apparently took advantage of recent shark sightings in the area.

About 50 people were drawn to an area behind Wilbur Liquors on Wednesday night for what was believed to be a shark in Fox Hill Cove, which runs under Wilbur Avenue between Somerset and Swansea.

Somerset police dispatcher William Aubin said a man called 911 about 7 p.m. to report the sighting. Somerset and Swansea dispatchers received several calls.

Word spread fast of the purported shark sighting, and before long, a large gathering believed they were watching a real shark.

But upon closer inspection, it was realized the fin moving above the water was all part of a prank.

“It was Styrofoam shaped into a fin and wrapped with gray duct tape with weights holding it in place,” Aubin said.

Several regional beaches had been closed at various times in recent weeks for actual shark sightings.

Although meant to be a practical joke, Aubin cautioned that the incident could have caused a “serious problem” had there been a real water-related emergency call around the same time.

E-mail John Moss at