Local officials say they have no reason to believe an email warning folks about break-ins and rapes in the area has any truth to it.
"The email, sent by 'Grace,' was received by several residents in the past few days," Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said in a statement Wednesday evening. "It was addressed to 'ladies' informing recipients that the sender heard of 'two more break-ins and rapes' in the Gage Road area of the town. It went into detail as how the 'incidents' allegedly occurred."
The Sheriff's Office was "flooded" with telephone calls about the email. Authorities there checked their own records, and they also contacted officials at the Southeast barracks of the New York State Police, the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office, the Putnam County Law Enforcement Intel Group.
"There have been no recent burglaries or sexual assaults reported to law enforcement at or near Gage Road,” the statement reads.
Smith asks residents "to be vigilant and report suspicious activity," but said folks "must be informed of bogus reports or misinformation concerning their safety."
"I urge the author of the email to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 845-225-4300 if she has specific information concerning the criminal behavior described in the message that she sent," he said. "Absent any contact by the writer, we must believe that the information contained in this email is unfounded and possibly sent to cause undue stress and panic to those receiving it."
The last line of the email read, "It has been such a terrible few weeks for our town, and I hate to spread more bad news, but I felt the need to let everyone know so we know not to let our guard down."
Gage Road in Southeast is bounded by Milltown Road and Fairfield Drive, both of which run into Connecticut. Officials there say the investigation into a burglary that occurred late last month—on the other side of Milltown Road and in the area of Ball Pond Road in New Fairfield, CT—is ongoing and "active."
A sketch of the suspect linked to that incident circulated Facebook, reaching Putnam residents and prompting discussion that the person was wanted in Southeast. Local officials confirmed that the image was released by Connecticut officials.