Elm Grove Police Alert Sent by Mistake

An inadvertent message sent out Thursday through the Wheeling Police Department’s City Watch alert system caused some Elm Grove residents to think they had a suspicious person lurking in their neighborhood.

Police Chief Shawn Schwertzfeger said police were called to an area of National Road near the Dairy Queen store Thursday evening to investigate reports of a suspicious man wearing a hoodie and ski mask.

“We located the individual that night,” the chief said. “He was not charged with anything because no elements could be placed on him.”

Schwertzfeger said a new City Watch message went out Thursday to every home that has a listed telephone number in the geographical area of Elm Grove.

“The message was not as clear as it could have been and it may have caused some concern,” he said. “It encouraged people to call our department if they say any suspicious person or activity in the area.”

The chief said city police, the fire department and emergency medical services have access to the City Watch alert system. It can be used to broadcast information to specific locations or to individuals who have signed up with Neighborhood Crime Watch.

Wheeling has Crime Watch groups in Elm Grove, Woodsdale, South Wheeling, East Wheeling and on Wheeling Island.

Schwertzfeger said the system is used to alert people about suspicious activity or to broadcast information about things such as missing children.