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NJ Man Builds Hail Cannon That Shakes Neighbors’ Homes, Police Chief Says It’s Totally Legal

Hammonton, NJ – Police in Hammonton have gotten a deluge of panicked 911 calls about a terrifying booming sound but there’s nothing they can do about it.

Rob Butkowski, 34, told the Daily Voice he built a hail cannon in his garage during the pandemic to scare birds away from eating the grapes in his vineyard and “to piss my neighbors off.”

Butkowski, a construction worker, used scrap metal to build the canon and a combination of acetylene and oxygen to make it go boom.

The cannon creates an explosion that can be heard up to 10 miles away, the Daily Voice reported.

Neighbors hate it and called 911 all the time when it first started being fired off.

But Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel told the New York Post there’s nothing illegal about Butkowski’s hail canon.

“It doesn’t fire projectiles, and it’s not a firearm or an explosive,” Chief Friel said. “It uses gas — and that’s it.”

The chief said the police department has no plans to try to stop Butkowski from using his homemade canon, the New York Post reported.

The only possible violation of the law would be if Butkowski was shooting it off after 10 p.m. and breaking noise ordinances, but the canon’s creator said he stops using it at 8 p.m.

The neighbors hate it, the Daily Voice reported.

“Every time it goes off my entire house shakes, and I’m afraid it is going to collapse,” Butkowski’s next door neighbor Alfonso Guevara complained. “It’s not new. It’s 80 years old.”

Guevara claimed his neighbor fires his cannon off at midnight and it has woken up his sleeping small children, the Daily Voice reported.

But Butkowski said the late night explosions weren’t him and said he thought somebody else nearby was setting off Tannerite, a legal explosive used for target practice.

Despite his neighbor’s complaints, Butkowski has no plans to stop using the hail cannon, the Daily Voice reported.

He told Inside Edition that the canon not only protects his vineyard crops, it can also disturb weather patterns over his property that bring destructive hail.

And he’s proud of his hail cannon, the Daily Voice reported.

“It’s something I created,” he said. “I’m going to keep testing it until I perfect them and hopefully sell them in the future.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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