Halloween 2014 Hours and Safety

Trick or treat this year is 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on October 31st.  Here’s some Halloween safety tips:

Jack-O-Lantern

  • Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
  • Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
  • Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Tips courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Billerica Man Charged with Aggravated Burglary

mckennaBillerica – On October 11 at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the area of Whiting Street, for a report of a Burglary in progress. A resident reported that they were home when they heard their dog barking inside the house. Upon investigating the disturbance, the resident confronted an unknown male suspect in an unoccupied bedroom who was allegedly rummaging through a jewelry box. The suspect, who later was identified as David McKenna (DOB 9/28/78), engaged in a brief struggle with the resident and fled the area. The resident was not physically injured during the confrontation. The resident was able to give officers a physical description of the suspect as well as the type of clothing he was wearing. Further, the resident reported that the suspect fled to the area of Richardson Street. Officers searched the area and were able to apprehend the suspect in the area of Pages Court and Richardson Street. David McKenna is being charged with Aggravated Burglary Chapter 266 s 14 and Larceny from a Building Chapter 266 s 20. Mr. McKenna is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

McKenna is also a suspect of several other Burglaries and charges are pending.

Any additional questions should be directed to Deputy Chief Roy Frost, 978-667-1212 x151

High School Response 9/24/14

At approximately 12:00 this afternoon, we received a report that teachers and students within a classroom at Billerica Memorial High School simultaneously reported not feeling well, with headache symptoms. The classroom was immediately evacuated to outside the building and public safety personnel were called in response to a potential carbon monoxide leak.

Within minutes, police, fire, and paramedic personnel arrived on scene and proceeded consistent with our emergency response protocols. The classroom in question was checked for carbon monoxide and other issues, and no evidence of a hazard was found. Students’ health was checked by fire and paramedic personnel, as well as our own nursing staff, and all students were cleared to return to class.

Billerica Memorial High School administrative staff will be reaching out by phone to all families of students directly involved in this afternoon’s event, and will be sending out a general email to high school families later this afternoon.

We would like to thank the Billerica Fire and Police Departments for their immediate response, and as always, for their professionalism and dedication to keeping our students safe.

If you have further questions, I encourage you to contact my office at (978)528-7908.

Sincerely,

Timothy G. Piwowar
Superintendent of Schools

Common Scams

The Billerica Police Department has taken numerous reports this year involving scams amounting to thousands of dollars in losses to residents. Many of these scams involve the use of Green Dot MoneyPak cards, MyVanilla reload cards, Paypal prepaid cards and others.

greendot-card_smThe Green Dot MoneyPak is a cash reload product that can be used to reload a prepaid debit card, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account or to make same-day payments to major companies.

Green Dot Corporation, the maker of MoneyPak, warns consumers to only use their MoneyPak number with businesses on their approved list and if anyone else asks for your MoneyPak number or information it’s probably a scam.

These are some common scams using MoneyPak cards as payment methods:

Grandparent Scam – Scenarios from the FBI

  • A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a “grandchild.” If it is a phone call, it’s often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren’t thinking that clearly. Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn’t want his or her parents told.
  • Sometimes, instead of the “grandchild” making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. And we’ve also received complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake tale
  • We’ve also seen military families victimized: after perusing a soldier’s social networking site, a con artist will contact the soldier’s grandparents, sometimes claiming that a problem came up during military leave that requires money to address.
  • While it’s commonly called the grandparent scam, criminals may also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew, or another family member.

Utility Company – Scenario from AARP

  • The callers claim to be billing representatives from your utility company but are actually crooks looking for a quick payoff. They tell you that to avoid an immediate shutoff, you need to settle an overdue bill by providing them with your credit card number or a prepaid debit card (MoneyPak).

Internal Revenue Service Scam – Scenario from IRS

  • Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card (MoneyPak) or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Secret or Mystery Shopper Scam - Scenario from the Federal Trade Commission

  • You may have heard about people who are “hired” to be mystery shoppers, and told that their first assignment is to evaluate a money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram. The shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire it to a third party. The check is a fake.

    By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, the person who deposited the check and wired the money will be responsible for paying back the bank.

    It’s never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back.

Tech Support Scam – Scenario from the Federal Trade Commission

  • The latest version of the scam begins with a phone call. Scammers can get your name and other basic information from public directories. They might even guess what computer software you’re using. Once they have you on the phone, they often try to gain your trust by pretending to be associated with well-known companies or confusing you with a barrage of technical terms. They may ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks. Sometimes, they target legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses. Their tactics are designed to scare you into believing they can help fix your “problem.”  These scams often ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable. They may also attempt to enroll you in a worthless warranty or ask you for a credit card or pre paid debit (MoneyPak) so they can bill you for phony services.  In addition, you may even be tricked into installing malware on your computer or be directed to a malicious website.

In all of these scams the victim is often instructed to go to a local store and purchase green dot cards and call the suspect back.  The victim is then instructed to read the MoneyPak number(s) back to the suspect. This gives the suspect immediate access to the money and there is no way to recover it. Suspects often use phone numbers with an official looking caller ID to appear legitimate.

We encourage residents to report these crimes to the Police Department.

 

Area Car Breaks

Please be aware that there has been an increase of vehicles being broken into in the surrounding towns. Last week a number of vehicles were broken into in Bedford and Tewksbury. Billerica was affected as well but it was isolated. Last night, Chelmsford had a significant amount of vehicles entered and property stolen. Like the rest of these agencies we are asking that residents realize that every neighborhood and town is a potential target to thieves. Don’t let complacency deter good habits. Please secure your vehicles and remove valuables or keep them from view. If you do become a victim please make sure you report the incident to BPD.