Suspicious person report at Milton brewery proves unfounded

MILTON — For 90 minutes Thursday, local law enforcement scrambled to secure the area around the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery after receiving a suspicious person report at 11:09 a.m.

Turns out, it was a case of mistaken identity and there was never any danger lurking. The person staff feared was on the property after earlier being ordered to stay away was confirmed to be nowhere in the vicinity.

Milton Police Chief Robert J. Longo was fine with brewery staff calling authorities based on a “see something, say something” policy.

“It was the wrong identification but done with the right heart and mindset to take all precaution if concerned about a potential threat,” Chief Longo said. “We encourage citizens to always err on the side of caution and report what they see to police.”

Afterward, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery President and COO George Pastrana issued a statement that read:

“We had a false alarm at the Milton Brewery today. In the spirit of ‘see something, say something’ we asked local authorities to respond to our facility. The Milton Police quickly reported, took charge and proceeded to do what they do best.

“It was indeed a false alarm, but in all cases we’d rather err on the side of caution than not. The safety and well-being of coworkers and guests is paramount. Rest assured, we are now safely back at work, making great beer and entertaining our guests.”

Also, “The Milton Police Department will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our youth and community,” Chief Longo said.

“We want to thank those agencies who responded and the professionalism they exhibited. We also thank the staff of Dogfish Head and the Cape Henlopen School District for their cooperation during this event.”

At one point, Chief Longo said, untrue reports of a gunman or active shooter on the premises at 6 Cannery Village Center were spreading. At the brewery, “People were nervous, they were evacuating the back part of the building.”

The department quickly issued a news release to refute the rumors and explain what had really happened, which the chief said was well received by the public to allay any fears.

Besides Milton Police, law enforcement agencies from Lewes and Georgetown, Delaware State Police and Delaware Probation and Parole search the brewery’s shipping building while attempting to locate the reportedly suspicious person.

As a precaution, Milton PD’s news release said, the Cape Henlopen School District kept all of its students and staff at Milton Elementary School, H.O. Brittingham Elementary School and Mariner Middle School inside their respective buildings until the situation was cleared.

While an extensive search of the building was being conducted, intelligence gathering was underway and it was determined the person in question was not at the brewery or in the Town of Milton at the time of the incident, police said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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