The Waterloo Police Department has actively investigated two suspicious incidents both occurring in the down town business district in the Village of Waterloo.
The first incident occurred on Thursday January 11, 2018 near the area of the First Dragon Restaurant. A report was made that stated a male followed a woman and her two children to her vehicle. While the two children were inside the vehicle, this male entered the vehicle and placed his hands on one of the children. The mother intervened and the male walked off without further incident. An investigation into this incident was completed and the facts of the case were presented to the District Attorney. As a result, Harry W. Ward age 55 of Seneca Falls was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Through speaking with witnesses who interacted with Ward previous to the incident, and viewing the video footage from the cameras in the down town business district, it is believed that Ward was highly intoxicated. Although alarming as this incident was, there is no proof that the intention of Ward was to abduct the child involved. Provided all the facts that were discovered through the course of the investigation, Endangering the Welfare of a Child was the only crime that fit the standards of law provided. Ward is scheduled to appear in the Village of Waterloo Court of February 7th to answer the charge.
In a second incident, the Waterloo Police Department is currently investigating a suspicious event that occurred on 1/15/18. A woman and her child were leaving the Down Town Business District and there was a male in a common area of the mall. The woman and her child exited the mall and the male followed her outside. The woman and her child were inside of the vehicle as the male stood outside near her vehicle. The male then approached another vehicle as if he was entering it as the woman pulled away. As she left, this male did not enter the vehicle, and went back inside the business. This incident is still under investigation however, these two incidents do not appear to be related and the suspect from the first incident is not the same as the second. If anyone has any information concerning either incident, please contact the Waterloo Police Department at 315-539-2022.
Currently, the Waterloo Police Department does not have information that leads us to believe that we have a male down town that is actively trying to abduct children. However, we encourage all members of our community to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times, especially when accompanied by children. Always report strange occurrences as they are happening from a safe location. As a tip, remember what the suspect was wearing and any other physical descriptors that could be helpful in identifying the suspect. If safe to do so, try to see where the suspect may go but do not follow them.
The Waterloo Police Department will increase patrols in the down town area and will provide the businesses with this press release to better inform them. Please contact the Waterloo Police Department with any further information or help that you may have.
Chief Jason E. Godley
Waterloo Police Department