In the early-morning hours of Wednesday, July 18, the quiet, idyllic town of Willow Cove saw its first murder in over three decades. Local businessman and icon Lennie Guttman was found dead in lane seventeen of the bowling alley he owned, Guttman’s Gutters, apparently bludgeoned to death with one of his own bowling pins.
The horrific discovery was made by Gloria Blatt, the octogenarian employee of Guttman’s Gutters familiar to and beloved by most residents of Willow Cove. The experience was obviously traumatizing for Mrs. Blatt, but she is recovering from the shock after calling authorities to the bloody scene at the bowling alley. “I just come in early like any other morning, first one here like always at 8:00 sharp, and I seen something wasn’t right right away. There was broken glass on the floor by the door, and then I turn the corner and I seen him. Oh! Mr. Guttman. So sad. It was terrible. Blood was everywhere. It…I’m sorry, I can’t. I just can’t.”
Mr. Guttman’s body was found halfway down lane seventeen of the twenty-lane bowling alley, blood pooling in the gutter in which his head rested, coagulating and turning sickly dark. A smeared trail of blood indicates that his body was dragged from behind the concession stand, presumably where the grisly crime occurred, to its final resting place on the well-oiled wood of lane seventeen. This repositioning of the body has police, and others, wondering if there is any significance to the number 17.
Other areas of the bowling alley also attest to the abhorrent activity of the night before. A glass trophy case, the pride and centerpiece of Mr. Guttman’s bowling alley, was smashed with a bowling ball, found resting on top of one of Guttman’s Gutters’ many Chamber of Commerce awards of recognition. A bloody bowling pin, presumably the murder weapon, was found crammed in the ball return of lane two. Two scraps of paper torn from a ransom-style note were also found at the scene, and authorities are scouring for more. They provide a hint of the content of the letter, but are not yet enough to go on. One thing is for certain, though: they demonstrate that this was not a random encounter, but a premeditated meeting.
Authorities continue to search the crime scene and will expand their search to include other pertinent locales as circumstances dictate. No persons of interest have yet been identified, but that is not to say the Sheriff’s Department isn’t just holding that information close to their chest, as we should expect them to do.