The first email came last Thursday, September 18, from Mt. Everett Regional High School Principal Glenn Devoti. A white male in a silver, four-door sedan with blue and white New York plates may have tried to abduct a 6th grader within the district at around 4 p.m, he said.
The notice from Devoti went out, and email warnings from Berkshire Hills Regional School District quickly followed, along with a press release from the Berkshire District Attorney’s office, adding a few more details: “The incident happened about 3:30 p.m., Thursday September 18, on Norfolk Road in New Marlborough as an 11-year-old boy walked home from school.” The boy was approached, said the DA’s office, and the driver appeared to be “approximately 30 to 40 years old with a thin build and medium length black hair that looked a little shaggy.”
A second, new email warning came again this morning, September 26, and included two private schools: Berkshire Country Day and the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, after a car matching the above description was seen the previous day near the Steiner School. The Steiner School, however, was closed for Rosh Hashanah on the 25th, said Faculty Administrator Michael Junkins.
BCD school psychologist John Evans sent an email reminding parents to talk to their children about accepting rides from strangers, a cliché that still needs repeating, since modern life keeps parents juggling many a ball. Children, he said, should never “help a stranger with a problem such as finding a lost dog, another ‘child they are worried about’.” He said that younger children do not require details, but rather, general safety guidelines.
All the schools said that their bus companies have been notified of the attempted abduction, and residents and parents have been asked to be vigilant, and to remind children not to approach strangers in vehicles.
District Attorney’s office spokesperson Fred Lantz said that there were no new details. The investigation is being conducted by the New Marlborough Police Department, State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, and State Troopers from the Lee barracks.
Anyone who might have seen a vehicle matching this description is asked to call the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Lee at (413) 243-0600.