Hanover police say screwdriver threat drew response on day of Dartmouth president’s inauguration

  • Mark Beliveau, of Dartmouth College Safety and Security, photographs a serial number on a bike, held by Hanover Police Cpl. Tim Meenagh, right, that is suspected to have been used by a man who threatened to stab a public works employee with a screwdriver, to flee in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. The victim, Wyatt, who declined to give his last name, speaking with Hanover Detective Nicholas McNutt at left, discovered the man inside a pump house on Lebanon Street, and was not injured in the encounter. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — James M. Patterson

  • Hanover, N.H., police, inspect the area around a pump house on Lebanon Street with Hanover Public Works Employee Wyatt, who declined to give his last name, on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. Police said that earlier in the day Wyatt was inspecting the pump house when he discovered a man inside who threatened to stab him with a screwdriver, then stole a mobile phone from his truck before fleeing with a black bicycle. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2023 10:28:21 PM
Modified: 9/22/2023 10:29:10 PM

HANOVER — Police fanned out around a Dartmouth College sports facility and the Co-op Food Store in search of an unidentified man who entered the town water pumping station off Lebanon Street and allegedly menaced a worker with a screwdriver.

The suspect escaped on foot just as authorities were beefing up security in preparation for New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu arriving in town to attend the inauguration of new college president Sian Beilock on Friday afternoon.

Police were alerted around 11 a.m. that a Hanover Department of Public Works employee reported he encountered a screwdriver-wielding male wearing a hoodie and blue medical face mask inside the pumping station who threatened to stab him and stole his cellphone from a truck. The worker pursued him until losing track of the intruder, according to recorded audio of police communications and interviews at the scene.

Shortly after noon Friday, Hanover police found a black bicycle that was believed taken by the fleeing intruder from behind the college’s Graham Indoor Practice Facility north of the Co-op on South Park Street.

But despite the man still being at large as of Friday afternoon police assessed the public was not in danger.

“We are still in the preliminary stages of our ongoing investigation,” Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said.

Dennis was visiting the scene where the bicycle lay on its side on an athletic field next to a fence behind the athletic facility.

Dennis said that after police conducted “initial interviews we do not believe there is an ongoing danger to our community.”

Hanover police were assisted in the search by Canaan, Enfield, Lyme, Orford, Lebanon police departments and the U.S. Forest Service, according to a news release issued early Friday evening.

Dartmouth College spokesperson Jana Barnello said via email that Hanover police “confirmed that there is no threat to the public following the incident” and said the “elevated security presence” in town on Friday “is standard procedure for major campus events.”

Police combed the woods to the east of the athletic facility and Co-op and called in a K-9 officer from the New Hampshire State Police, but as of late Friday afternoon the suspect still had not been located.

Police thought the man might have accessed the nearby trailhead for the Appalachian Trail.

Police had hoped to be able to track the suspect through the stolen cell phone’s signal but the last known location was about three-quarters of a mile southeast of a cell phone transmission tower on North College Street before the phone was turned off, according to police radio communications.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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