Security responds to student report of suspicious vehicle on campus

At 10:55 p.m. on Sept. 8, Campus Safety and Security officers responded to a female student’s call reporting four suspicious men following her in a vehicle on campus.

The men in the vehicle approached the student in the Mission Park area of campus and made an offensive comment about the student’s clothing.  Then two of the men stepped out of the car and followed the student toward Parsons House, according to the official report. Once inside the dorm, the student called Security, which sent all on-duty officers to the scene.  The car was seen traveling up Park Street to Main Street and was last observed by Security traveling south on Cold Spring Road.

Dispatcher Julie Fairchild notified the Williamstown Police Department of the incident at 10:57 p.m., who then notified the Lanesboro Police Department.

One of the men remaining in the car wore a horse head mask, according to the student’s report.

“We have no way to connect them to Williams,” said Dave Boyer, director of Security, “There weren’t any great descriptions … It is unknown if this was a college prank, Williams-related or people from off campus.”

The second responding officer  obtained the last four digits of the New Hampshire plate before following the car off campus. Security does not have the jurisdiction to pull over cars.

“If nothing else, we scared them off campus,” Boyer said. He explained that this was a “perfect scenario” because there were already officers placed in the area who could quickly respond.

Earlier in the day, the same men had approached an alumnus on campus, asking about the location of a party. The alumnus did not recognize them as students, according to Boyer.

After escorting the vehicle off campus, Security made additional efforts to identify the men. Although there were several leads, none led to the identities of the men.

Earlier the same day, students from Keene State, a college in New Hampshire, were on campus for a field hockey game. Boyer said that Security contacted the director of public safety at Keene State to investigate the incident.

“They had two vehicles with the partial number sequence, but neither fit the description of the vehicle,” Boyer said.

Last Thursday, another student called Security reporting a potential sighting of the same car. Upon responding, however, Security did not find the car.

Security also collaborated with the Williamstown Police Department. Together, they reached out to the state of New Hampshire to contact registrars to run the partial plate numbers.

Security also contacted local colleges and universites, including Bennington College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Southern Vermont University to inquire if they had similar incidents or had registered vehicles matching the given description. The schools were unable to find any matches.

In an all-campus email that Boyer sent out the following morning, he encouraged students to look out for a small grey car with a New Hampshire license plate ending in 9519. Students can contact Security at 597-4444 and the Williamstown Police Department at 413-458-5733.

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