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Peanut Butter Bandit Causes Stir Among Tolland Parents

Many parents were concerned with how the schools would deal with registered sex offender Frederick Merrill moving to town.

News that Peanut Butter Bandit Frederick Merrill was moving to town created quite a bit of buzz, including from parents who were concerned about the safety of their children while they are at or on their way to or from school.

“I'm worried about our schools,” one reader wrote on the Tolland Patch Facebook page. “Extra security, please.”

That was a popular sentiment.

Others aren’t thrilled about it, but know that there are other factors involved.

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“There have been plenty in town and in our surrounding lines,” another reader wrote. “With that said, how many have trusted your child to a dr, or a public leader and has proven to be inappropriate? I'm not happy with this decision either but everyone should have the “talk” with your children. Tell them to not walk and text so that they can be aware of their surroundings. Teach them the “buddy” system. Make this your responsibility to keep your children safe!”

She continued, “I totally agree that is too close to schools especially since kids walk home from THS but our knowledge has to be put with our kids. The school systems are in such a disarray with bombs, drugs, security, etc. as we all know. And I'm not saying just our town but all towns. I feel the school system needs a full time team to just focus on children’s safety but that brings back to budget.”

Superintendent of Schools William Guzman said that the schools won’t do anything differently because of this new resident and that there are already policies in place when it comes to registered sex offenders.

He said that every time the district receives notification that an offender will be moving to the area, an update is posted on the school district Web site. Residents can go to the site and look for the Connecticut sex registry link. Whenever a new offender has come to the area, it will say “update” and have the date.

Clicking on that link will bring the resident to the Connecticut state sex offender registry. From there, an address can be entered and a resident will be able to see the offenders – with their names and photographs – who are in the area. The offenders’ addresses – home, work/volunteer, and school – are also listed.

Loraxsnak February 26, 2013 at 08:10 PM
I know a bit about this case because we in the disability community know that Fredrick Merrill committed a murder that was blamed on a man with an intellectual disability, Richard LaPointe. (http://courantblogs.com/rick-green/frederick-merrills-connection-to-richard-lapointe/) That aside, Merrill is an extremely dangerous man who has clearly shown he is a repeat offender. These are the facts: Right after high school he started breaking into houses. While on probation for that he was arrested for violating his terms for release. This was the first of three times he broke parole. With the supplies smuggled to him in the "peanut butter incident" , he drew a gun on police, handcuffed them and commondeered a vehicle. In 1987 he was released and one month later be beat and raped a woman. He was about to start the house on fire when a family member of hers came home & Merrill fled. Finally, while awating trial for that, he escaped from Somers prison and quickly committed a burglary in Enfield. Merrill is an extremely dangerous man who has shown he has no regard for the law or terms of probation. As soon as he gets out of prison he reoffends, beating and raping women, breaking into houses, burglarizing and terrorizing. I doubt the occasional alcohol test and an ankle bracelet are going to much to deter this monster.
Bernadette Maheu February 27, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Why do we always have to wait until something happens. People such as Merrill should have no rights. They lost that privilege.
Bob Bass February 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM
I don't want this violent offender in our neighborhood. We need to have a town meeting on this matter. We will need a support team to help get this offender out of our our town and also we need warn everyone in the town that this offender lives here. The meeting needs to be open to the public and the he will have to be allowed to be there if he shows up. We need to make sure all the schools know about him and are aware of the situation. They should even have a plan in effect to deal with him in case of an event involving him. We should peacefully picket the his home. We should all be calling his parole officer in Norwich. The more people that call and complain about his living arrangements, the more likely he is to move. We need to make sure our children know what he looks like and where he lives. We don't want our children walking by his house. We need to print flyers and pass them throughout town with a picture and his address. If we spot him around town we should call the resident troopers office or Troop C and tell them of the location and the situation. Keep in mind that the main concern should be for the safety of our children. Remember that bullying him will hurt his productive role in society and may be illegal.
JJ February 28, 2013 at 11:09 PM
He's not going anywhere so calm down. You can't picket his house and why would you call and bother Troop C? If he's not doing anything wrong you are just wasting valuable law enforcement resources. Be mad at the system, but sorry to break the news to you but theres nothing you can do.
Deb Willet March 04, 2013 at 12:50 AM
I'm a bit concerned in hearing that he was at Tolland Public Library recently putting up a fuss because he didn't have a library card and wouldn't be allowed to borrow a book. Not only is the library a stone's throw from TIS, but it's a place where parents feel safe letting their children go after school alone or with friends. What is your take on this?
Jane March 04, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I'm sorry but look where being fitted with a GPS device for around the clock monitoring, registering as a sexual offender and checking in with his parole officer once a week got poor Jaycee Dugard. (Wikipedia it. Horrifying!) I agree with Bob Bass. We need to do something as a community. Get the word out!! He has to be in violation of something?? I don't get how a 1 bedroom, 915 sqft house SHARED with his SISTER ( a female woman), less than .06 miles (6 seconds WALKING distance) from the a Daycare Center, 1.05 miles from a Birch Grove Elementary School and 6.5 miles from UConn Campus with hundreds of young women be a suitable residence for a violent criminal? Isn't he already in violation?? Isn’t there a violation in the distance he can be within those places? He was seen in the Tolland Public Library where women and children hang out. He is out on good behavior and because his health is failing. Boo hoo!!! Good behavior?? “WHAT?” Who was he going to violate in a prison full of men?? He is a ticking time bomb. This should not be allowed!!! He should be locked up if he poses such a risk. This doesn't make sense. It’s not IF he will offend again, it’s WHEN he will offend again, because to many offenders with the same patterns WILL offend again. Why are we going to sit back and wait for something bad to happen? How much more tragedies can we take!! He has already been around our children…. Somebody, anybody... what can we do??
q March 04, 2013 at 03:26 PM
VERY concerned by this! Are you sure this is true? If so, I do think it's time for a town-wide meeting. Is he also allowed at our children's soccer and baseball games? At Crandall Park in the summer? We need to know what to expect. While parents and children should always be cautious, we shouldn't have to live in a constant state of fear. I understand there are other ex-cons and registered sex offenders in town, but none I've seen compare to this very violent, repeat offender with a history of escapes.

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