Police: Man Dressed in Black, Wearing Mask Prompted School Lockdown

Redding man charged with breach of peace after police search in Ridgefield.

A 22-year-old man dressed in black, wearing a mask and carrying an umbrella in such a way that it resembled a Samarui sword prompted a scare in Ridgefield that led to a lockdown at area schools and a search involving many law enforcement agencies, according to Ridgefield Police.

Wilfredo M. Seda, 22, of 46 Portland Avenue, Redding, was arrested and charged with breach of peace as a result of the incident, which began at 8 a.m. Monday with a call from a Ridgefield resident about a suspicious man walking nearby.

The initial report alerted police to a man dressed all in black and carrying what appeared to be a rifle in the area of Portland Avenue and Ethan Allan Highway. Ridgefield police said that they, with the help of other police agencies, quickly secured the area and launched a search.

The effort included police dogs and led to Branchville School being locked down and children redirected to another school as a precaution. Other Ridgefield schools were also put on lockdown.

When Seda was located, police said, he was wearing all black clothing, a watch cap and a face mask looking like a beard. Seda did not have a weapon, but police said the umbrella worn across his back had the outward appearance of a sword.

As the incident came in the wake of Friday's deadly shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, the incident not only led to lockdowns at schools in Ridgefield but at schools in nearby districts in Connecticut and New York. By about 11:30 a.m., the lockdown in Ridgefield had been lifted.

Seda is scheduled to answer the charge against him on Jan. 3, 2013 in Danbury Superior Court.

For full coverage of the Sandy Hook tragedy, click here.

PJ December 17, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Very sad that our tragedy brings out lunatics like this...looking for attention....preying upon our fears...why would a judge let this clown out on the streets again and "hope" he'll show back up to court? Put him in a psycho ward for a month or two...sorry if that sounds inhumane but the man is a wacko to do something like this!
JL December 18, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Uhm, PJ, perhaps you haven't been following the story, but this was just an innocent guy walking to work and doing his job. It was rainy and cold weather this morning and he was dressed how he felt fit for the long and misty/wet walk. I will admit, it was a poor choice of clothing, but I highly doubt he was thinking about causing a scare. This is just an unfortunate misunderstanding. I commend the caller for reporting what they assumed was suspicious activity, and the schools for playing it safe, but this was not this guy's fault. Poor choice of clothing, which I'm sure was unintentional. Analyze stories and reports properly before making hateful and judgmental accusations and comments, PJ. It will serve all of us well in the future.
Karen December 18, 2012 at 04:56 AM
My question to JL is, if this guy was innocent and just made a poor choice in clothing, then why was he arrested for breach of peace and needs to appear in court on January 3rd? As far as I know, it's not a crime to wear black clothing. I am not being confrontational here...I really do want to know why he was arrested.
sebastian dangerfield December 18, 2012 at 07:17 AM
karen I agree--- breach of peace because someone over-reacted? Carrying an umbrella -that someone thought was a sword, means that someone's mistake becomes this guy's problem? I should accuse an officer of making me think he was a rogue cop and about to draw his handgun. lets see if that flies.... after all--just getting scared, is apparently good enough for ridgefield cops to close down schools and arrest a guy.
Elizabeth MacKie December 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM
He was wearing a face mask. It wasn't that cold.
Elizabeth December 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM
While I think what happened in Newtown is tragic and devastating over reacting and arresting and accusing people without good cause can be tragic as well. This man didnt have a mask on. He had a beard and a black hat on which made it look like a mask. He wore black clothes and had a unbrella. When is it a crime to wear black ? If you start accusing people just because you dont like the way they look your part of the problem not the solution. I think they had to arrest him just to save face on there over reaction to the issue.
John McNicholas December 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM
As if you can't wear a ski jacket and you don't ski
John McNicholas December 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Lets let cooler head prevail! Lets find out the acts then make sound decisions on the actions. Once we know ALL THE FACTS then make sensible comments and/or criticism.
Eileen December 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Thank you JL for a VERY sensible post. I agree. We need to calm down.
Eileen December 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Not JL, but I think the RPD just wanted to make good on their call.
Eileen December 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM
OK, so we'll all just check in with you and make sure our clothing is appropriate.
Eileen December 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM
" I think they had to arrest him just to save face on there over reaction to the issue." Yep, exactly.
Eileen December 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
" but the man is a wacko to do something like this!" What? Walk to work????
John McNicholas December 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Sometimes people dont understand the circumstances of an incident such as this. Your comments are prejudging the actions of the RPD and appear to be rash and not based on any sound law enforcement experience. Unless of course you have that experience but I doubt it based on your comments. Dont prejudge before all the facts are in.
citizen009 December 18, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I agree with Mr. McNicholas that we should wait for the facts; and hopefully the Patch will give us the benefit of actually being able to follow a story through to a conclusion rather than never following up (most news organizations don't bother with the follow through). I don't agree, however, that the RPD should get the benefit of any doubt - I've seen enough irrational behavior from police (including in our Town) to know that, until the facts come in, we can't assume either party was right or wrong.
John McNicholas December 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
"Benefit of the Doubt" might have been a poor choice of words. I will agree with you-we cant and shouldnt assume either party was right or wrong until all the facts are in.
Conner December 18, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Elizabeth, I understand where you are coming from but - He did not have a beard, he had a "cap and a face mask looking like a beard" - it is called a "Beardo", and his umbrella was shaped like a Samurai Sword - both can be looked up on line if you need to see them. To dress up in all black, wearing the Beardo and carrying the umbrella that looks like a sword is definitely rovocative in my book.
sebastian dangerfield December 18, 2012 at 07:11 PM
John Sorry--but we can all form opinions. The police obviously formed theirs without all the facts. The guy ultimately carried an umbrella. harmless. Understandable for people and the cops to be wary-- but once determined that he posed no threat-they should just chalk it up as such. This is typical small town PD. Come lights and sirens blazing to stop nothing. Then , feeling foolish, decide to validate their erroneus assumptions, by arresting a guy. John--hope you are not wearing a belt--i might mistake it for a gun belt and have you arrested...and then im guessing you might not say " lets wait"---- you will know what injustice is.
Skeptic December 18, 2012 at 08:06 PM
totally agreed. i have seen similar situations in the past - accusations by concerned citizens that have no basis, carry no weight, and really are a violation of civil rights. Was this man causing a disturbance? His manner of dress is offensive?
Skeptic December 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
i have never seen it get as far as an arrest, however, but have seen and heard of repeated bullying by rogue cops with threats to arrest for petty false accusations. there are some dirty cops around
Elizabeth December 18, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Isnt that what those reported him and arrested him did. They prejudged him. He wasnt committing a crime. Breach of peace is "conduct severe enough to cause alarm to ordinary people and threaten serious disturbance to the community" He was walking up the road. People called about how he looked not about his conduct.
REAL K December 18, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Last I checked none of us were cops and we only know what this article is telling us which is written by a reporter. Everyone is making assumptions and we all know what happens there. My suggestion is we let the police do their job and investigate whether this man was a threat or not and we all spend our time attending to our own responsibilities.
REAL K December 18, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Last I checked none of us were cops and we only know what this article is telling us which is written by a reporter. Everyone is making assumptions and we all know what happens there. My suggestion is we let the police do their job and investigate whether this man was a threat or not and we spend our time attending to our own responsibilities.
John McNicholas December 19, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Last time I checked I worked for the NYPD for 21 years and retired as a Detective Investigatgor compiling all the fatcs before I jumped to conclusions. After that I spent more than 20 years as a Criminal DEFENSE Investigator in this State investigating criminal charges filed against people. Then too I had to accumulate all the facts before I formulated an opinion. Unless someone has spoken to the arresting officer or has a copy of the incident report I think we should all wait and see what actually occured before we form an opinion for or against the incident and those involved.
Skeptic December 22, 2012 at 04:27 PM
From the CT Post.... Capt. Thomas Comstock of the Ridgefield Police Department said Seda did not take any actions that might constitute breach of peace. Instead, Comstock said, it was Seda's "mode" of appearance -- dressed in black, with a black hood, carrying what looked to be some sort of weapon, that prompted police to charge him with breach of peace. Seda was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon. Read more: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Man-carrying-umbrella-charged-with-breach-of-peace-4124453.php#ixzz2FnZfeeey
Henry Glawson December 22, 2012 at 06:24 PM
If that is accurate, I would sue the pants off of the RPD. You can't arrest someone because he decided to wear black and carry an umbrella. Typical RPD behavior. A few wanna-bes looking for some action. Rather than chasing loitering teens and arresting someone for their "mode" of appearance, these clowns should find their action at the circus- where they belong. Comstock needs to explain the ridiculous actions of his terribly under-worked department.
sebastian dangerfield December 22, 2012 at 07:49 PM
He wont get any money for suing. when people get arrested for obvious things--we can form opinions. But according to John McNicholas, when it's the police that may have erred, or made a mistake, we need to withhold judgment. Nope, Mr McNicholas-- a jury and judge should withhold judgment. Public opinions are allowed to form without complete information. And that is what this forum is intended to accomplish. Being a police officer or a former police officer, despite the arrogance that attaches itself to that position, does not allow you to tell me if I am allowed to have an opinion.
John McNicholas December 23, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Sebastian I do not have the time to spend discussing something with you since you have already formed an opinion. I never said anything that would make anyone think I am pro police just because I am a former officer. The comments about my arrogance should be more directed to you as you are forming an opinion of me and making personal attacks when you cant find a logical defense for your remarks. If the police are wrong so be it but just like every other citizen they are intitled to be presumed innocent of any wrong doing until the evidence clearly points in that direciton. Many people, who ahve opinions like yours only inflame the issue rather than discuss it based on facts and not opinions. Arrogance-a little self evalutaion might be in order. Additonally, you might try using your given name when trying to smear someone-or maybe that is your style- no guts. I am availeble to have a logical discussion on any issue you wish- I will still use my true name.
Bud Foltyn May 20, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Wilfredo was due in court on January 3rd....does anyone know if the (ridiculous face-saving) "breach of peace" charge actually stuck? I can't find updates anywhere, and a search on the Danbury Superior Court site turns up nothing. Thanks.


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