SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 2, 2013

Police: Eggs, trash thrown at students

Wenham: Gordon College reports multiple incidents of 'drive-by' harassment

Campus and town police are investigating multiple reports of Gordon College students being yelled at and having items thrown at them “in drive-by fashion” as they walk down Grapevine Road in Wenham to a student parking lot.

“A car or two will drive by, and the occupants will yell out the windows and throw soda bottles or cups and in some cases eggs,” said Glenn Deckert, Gordon College’s police chief.

Most of the incidents were reported within the past two weeks, but one report, of a soda bottle being thrown around 10 p.m., goes back to Feb. 28, he said. The parking lot is located about a quarter-mile from the school’s landmark A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel.

Campus officers have increased patrols on that stretch of road in the evening, when the incidents have typically been reported. There is a state-of-the-art security camera system along the sidewalk, Deckert said.

No students have been seriously injured, and the incidents remain under investigation, Deckert said. He said they believe the acts are being done by people outside Gordon College, a Christian institution with about 1,500 students.

“At this point, we have some inappropriate activity that we want to put to a stop,” he said. “Anytime we have repeated reports, we are going to investigate.”

President D. Michael Lindsay recently sent an email to students saying the college is taking the incidents seriously. Students are being asked to report any such activity to campus police, Deckert said.

“We’ve actually got some fruitful responses from that email,” he said.

Wenham police Chief Thomas Perkins said his department had a meeting with Gordon College officials last week and has also increased its patrols in the area.

There was also an April 13 incident reported to Wenham police where a female Gordon student was verbally “harassed by the operator of a white pickup truck” along Grapevine Road at 11:30 p.m., Perkins said. This incident appears to be unrelated to the others, but police are looking into any possible connections.

Perkins said Wenham police are working with college officials on the investigation. This is the only area of town where the incidents are being reported, he said.

“People should feel safe to walk down the sidewalk in town without being harassed,” Perkins said.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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