Bay County authorities taking extra precautions for Halloween

BAY COUNTY, MI — Bay County authorities are advising area goblins and ghouls to exercise some safety precautions this Halloween weekend to ensure mischief doesn't get out of hand.

"We want to be proactive rather than reactive," said Bay County Undersheriff Troy Cunningham.

In particular, Cunningham is urging trick-or-treaters to use flashlights or wear glowsticks. From the other end of the spectrum, he's urging motorists to be aware of the kids, who are going to be out in droves on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31.

Also, police are asking costumed adults refrain from wearing their masks into businesses such as gas stations or convenience stores, frequent targets of armed robberies.

"That's a big problem every year," Cunningham said.

A particular concern this year surrounds Bay County home improvement stores. Cunningham referred to possible arsons that occurred at Home Depot stores in Flint Township on Wednesday, Oct. 28, and in Saginaw County's Kochville Township on Friday, Oct. 30. Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said two men may have started a blaze in the insulation aisle of the Kochville Township location, then fled with stolen power tools.

Cunningham said if arsonists are moving north from Flint to Saginaw, Bay County would be their next logical stopping point. To get ahead of the potential threat, he has teamed up with Bangor Township Fire Chief Rob Glenn and Monitor Township Fire Chief John Kramer to work with the management team at the Home Depot in Bangor Township, 3860 State St., and at Menards, 2864 Wilder road.

"They've contacted the stores to make sure they're aware of it," Cunningham said.

Both stores are on heightened security and the sheriff's office is going to have extra deputies patrol the area through the weekend, Cunningham said.

Most importantly, though, police want the citizens to be vigilant and cognizant of their surroundings.

"If you're aware of suspicious activity, call 911," Cunningham said.