Geneva Police Department Chief Jeffrey Trickler issued a clarification to previous press releases, while also addressing some reporting in the matter involving three students and an allegedly suspicious van.
He said in a statement that while some outlets reported that there was “no risk to students” that wasn’t quite the case. Trickler said that he never included those words in any press release sent out to the media, and that it could be interpreted the wrong way by the community.
His statement continued:
“Although, in this particular incident, there was no actual threat to the children there was still a perceived risk and it did have an effect on the family involved as well as the community. I am relieved that my department was able to identify what actually took place, however, I still have concerns about how the events unfolded. Members of the Geneva Police Department spent many hours investigating this incident and we are confident with the outcome of the investigation.”
Trickler noted that he would be reaching out to those involved to ensure that a situation — like the one that happened Wednesday morning does not happen again.
He closed by saying, “I would remind parents to have conversations with their children on what they should do and how they should react if they are ever approached by a stranger.”
In an update to the story involving a suspicious van attempting to pick up three children, the Geneva Police Department says that an investigation has found that the operator of the vehicle was an employee of the Boys and Girls Club.
Police say that the van was property of the Boys and Girls Club, too.
However, the driver, nor it, posed any risk to the public.
Chief Jeffrey E. Trickler said in an email around 4 pm that “An employee of the Boys and Girls Club has routinely canvassed the area for children in need who may need transportation to school.”
Additionally, Trickler reports that, “The van in question was property of the Boys and Girls Club and was being operated by an employee of the club. This information has been verified by the Geneva Police Department and the Geneva City School District has been notified. This incident has been determined to be unfounded and all parties notified and advised.”
Trickler noted that the incident and investigation had concluded.
Editor’s Note: The below story is the original report, which was published immediately after the Geneva Police Department launched the investigation, alerted the public and sent a press release out to the media.
The Geneva Police Department is investigating an incident that happened around 304 Castle St. — near Pulteney St. — around 8 am on Wednesday.
Officers report that three children, ranging in age of 5- to 7-years-old were approached by a white van and were told by a 50- to 60-year-old male driver that the school had allegedly instructed him to pick them up.
The mother of the children intervened and explained that they wait for a different bus, to which the driver further explained that he “usually picks up kids that are running late or miss the bus.”
The mother took the children inside and called the Geneva Police Department.
Police are working closely with the Geneva Central School District on this incident. Marked units will be present during bus pickup-drop off times and will be closely watching walking routes throughout the city, according to police.
The van was described as a white, conversion or medical style van with a taller roof — and no roof rack. The van windows were all clear and not tinted, with blue lettering near the passenger side that possibly said “paint or paint jobs,” according to the witness.
Police say the driver is a white male, between 50- and 60-years-old, with a brownish beard, wearing a hat and white t-shirt. There were no additional details on a description available.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or dial (315) 781-0096. Tips can be texted to (315) 366-8919 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.