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NJ Man Built Cannon To 'Piss Off The Neighbors' And Police Won't Do Anything About It

Rob Butkowski Rob Butkowski
Rob Butkowski Photo Credit: Rob Butkowski
A Hammonton man's hail cannon has neighbors frantically calling 911, but police can't and won't do anything about it.
A Hammonton man's hail cannon has neighbors frantically calling 911, but police can't and won't do anything about it. Video Credit: Rob Butkowski
Hammonton's Rob Butkowski with his dog and hail cannon. Hammonton's Rob Butkowski with his dog and hail cannon.
Hammonton's Rob Butkowski with his dog and hail cannon. Photo Credit: Rob Butkowski

The good news is South Jersey residents finally know what's been making the booming noise that's had them frantically calling 911 for months.

The bad news is that the guy who built it won't stop setting it off -- and no one can do anything about it.

Rob Butkowski, 34, built the hail cannon in his Hammonton garage during the pandemic out of boredom and "to piss my neighbors off," he said on a call with Daily Voice Monday morning.

A construction worker, Butkowski used scrap metal to build the device, which contains a cocktail of acetylene and oxygen in a propane tank. At the right angle, the cannon creates an explosion that can be heard up to 10 miles away.

For some, the noise is just puzzling. For others, like Butkwoski's next door neighbor Alfonso Guevara, it's fear.

"Every time it goes off my entire house shakes, and I'm afraid it is going to collapse," he said. "It's not new. It's 80 years old."

Sometimes, Butkowski sets his cannon off at midnight, Guevara said, waking his children and 4-month-old baby.

When asked why he does it late at night, Butkowski said it's not his cannon making the noise. Rather, someone else setting off Tannerite.

Guevara said he's called police countless times. Lots of people in the neighborhood have.

But unlucky for them, there's nothing illegal about the cannon.

“It doesn’t fire projectiles, and it’s not a firearm or an explosive,” Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel told the New York Post. "It uses gas — and that’s it."

Friel did not return either of Daily Voice's calls placed Saturday evening and Monday morning, nor did he respond to Daily Voice's email placed over the weekend.

Butkowski says he has no intentions to stop setting off his cannon.

"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."

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