The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 12, 2011

Residents: Neighborhood being terrorized

SUMMERLEE — According to area resident Jessie Treadway, a neighborhood on Halstead Avenue in the Summerlee area of Oak Hill is being terrorized by men who are “pounding on houses and trying to get into our homes.”

She says for three weeks now, around eight houses have been targeted by at least two individuals who have so far eluded police. They have never actually come into anyone’s home or stolen anything, says Treadway. Instead, she says, they bang on the sides of houses and rattle doorknobs as if to threaten and intimidate inhabitants.

“Something has got to be done. The whole neighborhood is being terrorized,” she says. “It’s a scary feeling to be afraid in your own home.”

Treadway, a nursing supervisor at Beckley Treatment Center, says her own house has not been targeted, but that her neighbor, Sandy Dolin, has been targeted more than anyone, perhaps because there is an easy escape route behind her house. She says she has been spending time at Dolin’s house to comfort her because she is afraid.

At first, it was banging on the side of houses all night, says Treadway. Her neighbors have been losing sleep. She says she thinks the harassment is escalating.

On Monday night, she says, “They were banging on (Dolin’s) house and saying something about how they had drugged her dog and they wanted to come in and were going to kick the door in.

“It’s just an odd situation, and it’s scary because you don’t know what they’re leading up to.”

Dolin could not be reached for comment as of Tuesday night.

Treadway says the police have been called every night, but by the time they come out to investigate, the harassers are gone. She has even called the state Department of Highways to ask them to come and clear the woods around the neighborhood. Halstead Avenue runs parallel and very close to U.S. Route 19.

“We’ve actually set out in the woods to try to catch them, and they know that you’re there,” says Treadway. “I don’t know if it’s somebody who lives close or they are watching all the time or what. If you hide out to catch them, they won’t show up, and as soon as you go into the house, they start banging.

“There are lots of kids and older people in our neighborhood, and we’ve never had anything like this happen. Everyone is walking around with Mace or some sort of weapon because they are worried.”

Treadway describes the alleged harassers as two white males, one with blondish hair and facial hair and another who is taller and larger with tattoos all over his arms.

Oak Hill Superintendent Bill Hannabass says an investigation of the incident is ongoing but would not comment on the details.

“I’m proud of our police department, and I think they’re doing all that is humanly possible,” says Hannabass. “They work hard, they respond to calls, and they are trying their best to get to the bottom of it. If I were in that area breaking the law right now, I would be worried.

“I don’t know who the police department suspects, but I know they have some theories. I do know they are looking in a certain direction.”

Oak Hill Chief of Police Michael Whisman reassured the public that the police department is devoting significant resources to the issue and cautioned residents to entrust the law enforcement duties to police.

“It is being investigated. Let the police investigate it. Think smart, don’t try to react to something that may get someone hurt,” he says.

—E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com

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