Parents in the Upper Valley are breathing a sigh of relief. Hartford police have determined who was following school kids in Wilder. They say they've identified the gray van and the men who some feared were stalking kids.
Upper Valley parents took to the web, warning others on Facebook about a trio of suspicious characters allegedly targeting kids on their way home from school. But now police say there's nothing to worry about. Still-- they have some advice for parents.
"I'm a parent myself and I would find it very alarming," Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brad Vail said.
On Monday-- the first incident. A teacher reported seeing men following a female middle school student on Hartford Avenue.
"The male subjects walked past her and as she passed, they turned around and started following her. A teacher that was driving by witnessed it, pulled over to talk to the student as a deterrent," Vail said.
The men allegedly took off in a gray van without license plates. On Tuesday, police heard from parents on Facebook that a second child was spooked after being followed by a similar vehicle. And on Thursday, police were told the suspects surfaced once again. This time allegedly watching kids at Kilowatt Field and waving what appeared to be a weapon.
Philip Sargent has lived next to the field for 50 years. As a parent, he says the suspicious behavior in his backyard is unsettling.
"It makes me apprehensive, a little uneasy to think that that kind of activity is in the area. That it's going on," Sargent said.
As a precaution, the Hartford School District drafted a letter alerting parents. And Deputy Chief Vail gave this warning: "Know the time your child is supposed to get out, know the time that the child is supposed to be at home. Have them call and say, yes, I got home safe, and at least have the children walk in groups if they don't have an adult with them."
But again, Friday evening police issued a statement saying they feel confident they have located the gray van and its owner. They say that the owner of the van did indeed pick up three men in the Wilder area. And they say although the three men in question may have been acting suspiciously, there was no criminal intent and no risk to the children. As for the gun, police say one subject was simply trying to show another subject one of his newly acquired firearms.
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:19 AM EST2013-12-08 14:19:27 GMT
Whether it's already cut and waiting or still hiding in the field, a tree farm can hold that perfect centerpiece for your holiday living room. And at Werner Tree Farm in Middlebury, they say pickingMore >>
If you're celebrating Christmas and you don't already have your tree, chances are you're thinking of getting one. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:19 AM EST2013-12-08 14:19:23 GMT
The sun is completing a "solar flip," and that means many people could have the best chance in a decade of seeing the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. NASA says every 11 years the sun's polar magneticMore >>
We check in on some of the week's big science stories, including why the Northern Lights may be more visible soon.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:09 AM EST2013-12-08 12:09:14 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:06 AM EST2013-12-08 12:06:06 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:04 AM EST2013-12-08 12:04:16 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-08 01:43:53 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-08 01:38:15 GMT
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork. Emily Lyman died of Leukemia at just fifteen years old, in December of last year. Now, her mother, Monica Lyman, is holdingMore >>
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM EST2013-12-08 01:17:57 GMT
There's still plenty of time to check off gifts on that Christmas list. The 21st Annual Vermont International Festival has something for everyone. The event began at the Champlain Valley Exposition asMore >>
Shoppers could find everything from Yoga mats from South America to jewelry from Tibet.More >>