Halloween Paintball Attacks Return



On Thursday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 27, the Trinity community received two updates from Campus Safety. The first stating that a student reported being shot at with a paintball gun by someone in a car, and the second that multiple Trinity students and faculty reported receiving spam phone calls from a callers claiming to be from either the Chinese Embassy or the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

While Campus Safety has reported phishing attempts in the past, this was the first one involving a caller claiming to be from an embassy or the IRS. In an email sent by Campus Safety Director Brian Heavren to the Trinity community on Saturday, Oct. 27, Heavren stated that “these calls are not originating from legitimate government agencies. They are designed to solicit your banking information or to receive a direct payment in order to commit identity theft or financial theft.” Additionally, Heavren shared tips for students and faculty that encounter these types of calls, encouraging students and faculty to not share any personal or financial information over the phone and to hang up and contact the law enforcement or government agency directly that the caller claims to be calling from.

Unlike the telephone phishing attempts, the incident involving the paintball gun is not new to Trinity; for many years, both before and after Halloween, students have reported incidents of a similar nature. In 2015, The Tripod reported that over the course of several weeks before and after Halloween, students reported individuals driving in a dark colored car on Allen Place “pelting individuals with paintballs.” Campus Safety Director Brian Heavren was quoted as stating, “Several of the incidents fall into a pattern of time of day, day of the week, and location. With one exception, the incidents occurred on weekends and in the early morning hours. In addition, the majority of incidents occurred on Allen Place or Crescent Street.”

Somewhat similarly, last Wednesday, Oct. 24 a student reported that at approximately 11:30 pm the rear occupant of a black Nissan stopped at a stop sign at Summit Street and College Terrace and fired a paintball gun at him. According to the email sent by Campus Safety, “the student was not struck by the paintball and was not injured.” Additionally, the email described that this has been a recurring incident on multiple college campuses within the area and that “Campus Safety is in contact with other area campuses and the Hartford Police Department to see if other incidents have been reported.”

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