WATERVILLE — Police are searching for a gun-wielding man who reportedly accosted a woman on The Concourse and demanded she let him into her car.

The woman activated her car security alarm, which sent the man fleeing, according to police Chief Joseph Massey.

The incident occurred around 3:35 p.m. in the northeast corner of The Concourse along Main Street where the farmers market is held during warmer months, Massey said.

The woman described the man as white with a medium build, 5 feet, 6 or 7 inches tall, in his early 30s, and wearing a red ball cap and brown Carhartt jacket.

“The woman called from The Concourse and said she was just confronted by a man who displayed a gun,” Massey said. “She said she was walking to her car on the north end of The Concourse, and as she reached her car, she turned around and a man was standing there, staring at her.

“He said, ‘Let me in your car,’ and she said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he said, ‘I have a gun.'”

She activated her car security alarm and the man started to back up.

“He said, ‘I’m homeless. I’m sorry,’ and he took off south on The Concourse,” Massey said.

Police talked to bystanders who said they heard an alarm and saw two people on The Concourse, but did not think anything of it, he said.

“We flooded the area with several officers who went into businesses and the library,” Massey said. “One officer viewed a surveillance camera that captured the interaction, but it was at a distance, so it was not very clear.”

The video showed a woman going to her car and a man approaching, and after they had an exchange, the man turning around and quickly heading south on The Concourse, Massey said.

He said the fact that the incident happened in daylight is concerning, and he suggested people be aware of their surroundings when going to and from their cars and businesses.

Police are not sure of a motive, according to the chief.

“He never demanded money. He never threatened to shoot her or anything, but they had that exchange and she was very concerned for her safety,” he said.

If you are approached by a person with a weapon and it is being pointed at you, you have a choice about whether to comply or resist — and it is a personal choice, Massey said, but being told to get into a vehicle presents a dangerous situation.

“I think your chances of survival diminish greatly when you get into the car and leave with someone,” he said.

The woman in this instance did the right thing. She had the presence of mind to sound her car security alarm, which prompted the man to flee, according to Massey.

“If you are in a public place, by all means, scream,” he said. “Audible alarms work. Loud noises.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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