Wilder man arrested after police, federal agents descend on home

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-13-2022 8:41 PM

WILDER — A Wilder man was arrested Wednesday after Vermont state troopers and Hartford police descended on his home and searched it for explosive devices and other hazardous materials, authorities said.

William Hillard, 51, was detained on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm while an investigation continues, Vermont State Police said in a news release Wednesday evening.

State troopers along the State Police Bomb Squad, Hartford police and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived at Hillard’s home at 110 Perkins Place around 10 a.m., blocked entry to the cul-de-sac and alerted nearby residents to shelter in place while they conducted an “operation ... focused on a specific location.”

The shelter-in-place alert was soon lifted, but access on Perkins Place was limited to homeowners for much of the day and investigators did not leave the scene until late afternoon.

No injuries were reported and police said they do not believe there was a danger to residents in the area.

The home, nestled in a residential neighborhood tucked between Route 5 and Interstate 91, is owned by Stephanie (Stevie) and Daniel Hillard, according to Hartford assessing department records. Daniel Hillard, a financial adviser and former chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, died in 2019 at age 76.

The residence is occupied by Stevie Hillard, a librarian with Hartford Middle School, and the Hillards’ adult son, William “Will” Hillard, according to Arthur Trottier, who lives next door to the Hillard residence on Perkins Place.

Messages left at a listed home telephone number and for Will Hillard via Facebook Messenger were not returned.

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For much of Wednesday, a Vermont State Police Bomb Squad vehicle, a Hartford Fire Department EMS truck, marked and unmarked vehicles of the Vermont State Police and Hartford police cruisers remained parked along Perkins Place. Two people with “ATF” on the back of their coats could be observed knocking on residents’ doors and at one point were seen carrying a firearm out of the Hillard home.

Hartford police Detective Scott Moody, the Hartford officer investigating the scene, did not respond to messages for comment.

Brendan Scribner, who lives across the street from the Hillards, said that despite the phalanx of law enforcement on his street Wednesday he had “no concerns about safety in my community” and called the Hillards “great, supportive neighbors. I’m most concerned about their well-being.”

Scribner said that Stevie Hillard and her late husband were active in the Hartford community, volunteering their time on town committees and boards.

He said William Hillard has kept a lower profile.

“He drives by and waves, but I’ve never heard a peep out of him as a community member,” Scribner said.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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