GLENMONT — Bethlehem police are looking to identify and speak to a driver who pulled up to two adolescents on Huntswood Lane in Glenmont on Monday, Aug. 19.
The incident happened at around 2:20 p.m. and BPD Deputy Chief Thomas Heffernan said couple of neighborhood kids were outside playing and throwing a baseball when a white male, who appeared to be in his 50s and sported grayish hair, slowed his vehicle down to speak to two of them — one was an older teenager while the other was a young boy. He allegedly told them that he had “a bucket of balls” in his vehicle if they were interested but they declined.
Heffernan said the two immediately reported the incident to their respective parents who then called the police. He said that the vehicle in question, according to some neighborhood outdoor camera footage, appeared to be a white Toyota Corolla, a Nissan Sentra or a similar build.
The vehicle’s exact brand and build, the driver’s identity and the license plate number remain unknown as the submitted footage did not get a clear view of the vehicle’s details or the driver’s face. Heffernan added that it is not known if the man actually had a bucket in his vehicle and if the incident was even innocent in nature.
“It’s hard to say because we don’t know the motive behind this, until we speak with the operator,” he said. “It may be innocent or someone trying to lure a teen into their vehicle. I don’t want to say there was an attempt to lure anyone into the car as it is reported more as suspicious activity. We would rather investigate and locate the operator and find out that it was nothing, versus letting him go and having it escalate into something serious down the road.”
While the investigation is ongoing, Heffernan brought up that the BPD conducted a neighborhood canvas in the area and the residents there have been “very cooperative and they’ve reviewed any outdoor video tapes they had. Some have provided them to us which has been helpful and we still encourage people to look into their videos, regardless of how minor it may be.”
A resident posted on Facebook about the incident the day it occurred and noted how similar it felt to another incident in Bethlehem’s Crossroads neighborhood on Thursday, May 23. According to a Times Union article, it was reported that a middle-aged looking man in 50s or 60s had pulled up to several teenage boys aged under 15 who were playing basketball.
He began conversing with them and had “something cool” in his trunk that they could look at. The boys declined twice when the man asked once more, and he drove away.
While his vehicle was reported as an old dark gray four-door car that could be a Toyota, it had “white license plates from an unknown state” and the man’s identity remains unknown.
When asked if the two incidents may be connected, Heffernan agreed that there were some similarities “but there’s not enough information that they’re connected. They’re close enough that we’re treating them as similar.” He also noted that the BPD sends out bulletins to other nearby police departments to see if there have been any similar incidents or reported vehicles in their neck of the woods.
He offered advice to residents to always be aware of their surroundings, follow the see-something-say-something mindset and for parents to speak to their children about it. Regarding the Hunstwood Lane incident, he said, “We don’t know his intentions. It may have been a real bucket of baseballs but in this day and age, it’s tough to say and we have to treat it seriously.”
Anyone with information regarding either or both incidents may contact Bethlehem police at 518-439-9973.
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