Boston Manhunt: Newbury Comics Shutters Stores, Warehouse

About 120 employees, half of the music chain's staff, were asked to stay home Friday as authorities search for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Newbury Comics' warehouse and office headquarters, located within Boston’s lockdown zone in the manhunt for the marathon bomber suspect, is shuttered today, as are four of the chain's stores.

"Early on we got the word not to open the business," reports Newbury Comics CEO Mike Dreese. "We are in Brighton, the area closest to Watertown, which is right across the river from our office complex. We are within two miles of where all the police activity is taking place and are in the presumed path of the suspect. "

The river is about 50 to 80 yards wide and has many small bridges traversing it so the neighborhoods can flow into one another.

By 6:30 a.m. EDT, Newbury Comics management told everyone not to come into the office after receiving word from authorities that they wanted everyone to stay at home and didn't want any cars on the street.

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"Every one is wired nowadays; we just texted the staff to stay home," said Dreese, who also reported the chain's stores on Newbury Street, in Faneuil Hall and in Harvard Square closed as well as the store in Newton, Mass. But the remainder of the chain, 24 stores spread throughout New England, are all open.

But whether those stores receive their Record Store Day inventory is another matter entirely and dependent on when police end the lockdown zone in Watertown.

"We may open later today if the situation resolves itself," Dreese said. "I am assuming it will be resolved by tonight, and then we can get into the warehouse. Most of the Record Store Day releases have been processed, but I don't know if it has all been delivered. If we have to, we can make deliveries first thing in the morning tomorrow, starting at 6:30 a.m."

On the other hand, Dreese worries that because the headquarters are within two miles of the center of the locked-down zone, "we will probably be the last to get the OK to open."

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On Monday, when the bomb exploded near the end of the marathon,  Boston police came though the surrounding areas like Newbury Street and Faneuil Hall with a loudspeaker telling stores to shut down because they were in an area of high-opportunity targets, Dreese explained.

Also, because of safety concerns, the chain shut its Harvard Square store immediately after the blast on Monday because there was so much confusion and because of the transit system closure by authorities. On Tuesday, Newbury Street, Faneuil Hall and Harvard Square all reopened.

Between the home-office headquarters facility, which has 120 employees, and the staffs of the four stores, "half the company is not working today,” Dreese said. “But we already decided that we will make good on their pay. Everyone affected will be paid for the time the warehouse and stores are closed."

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