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Handgun Scare Turns Out To Be Magnifying Glass

By Staff | Sep 2, 2009

A scare that resulted in the lock-down of at least three public buildings in New Martinsville Tuesday ended up having a simple explanation.

Tuesday morning the Wetzel County Courthouse, West Virginia Northern Community College, and Magnolia High School all locked their doors to the possible threat of a person with a gun seen at the New Martinsville Post Office.

While the details were sketchy as the rumor of the incident circulated, the public buildings went into a high security mode out of extreme caution.

The story was that a man was seen entering the New Martinsville Post Office with a gun. He then left in a truck.

When law enforcement agencies finally located the possible suspect who fit the description, including his clothes and vehicle, it turns out there was no gun involved. “He was an elderly man carrying a square magnifying glass,” explained Sheriff James Hoskins.

“It wasn’t anything. He was actually kind of shocked when we stopped him,” he continued. The man was carrying the magnifying glass by the large glass because that was easiest method with his arthritis. “Apparently the way he was holding it made it look like a handgun,” Hoskins explained.

“It could have, from a distance, easily been identified as a weapon.

“Those are the kinds of reports we want (to receive) to make sure we investigate. We would much rather err on the side of caution than anything else.”

The investigation was completed by the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department, New Martinsville Police Department, and United State Postal Service.