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Tale of a daytime assault in Northampton and home break-in in Hadley

Maureen Gallo of Westfield got in touch with the Gazette to share a story about a harrowing experience in Northampton.

I’ll let her tell it:

“This past Saturday, during Northampton’s busy Bag Day promotion, I was shopping with a friend for a few hours of fun.

“While taking a lunch break at The Teapot restaurant, I was approached from the back by a stranger who reached around me and slapped or punched me in the face so hard I almost passed out. This person then ran out of the door of the restaurant.

“My friend took off after her but failed to catch up. Other diners and the restaurant owner expressed concern for me as I was foggy for a few moments and unable to process what had just happened. A man who was dining with his family came over and made sure I was functioning okay before he went back to his own family outing.

“The restaurant personnel called the police at my request as I was concerned that this might happen to others if no one tried to find this woman. Children would especially have been at risk as the strength this woman showed was significant.

“We all only saw her from the back as she retreated from the restaurant.

“The police took my report and called her description in to the other patrol cars. As you can imagine, there were many shoppers on the sidewalks that day.”

A strange and frightening experience, to be sure. She says police haven’t found her assailant.

To this day, she puzzles over why she was picked out for the assault. It may have been random, of course, or a case of mistaken identity. Regardless, it’s not something she’ll soon forget.

“The incident will give me pause before deciding to travel from Westfield to Northampton to shop in the future,” she told us.

I’m sure readers will agree: The assault was so strange it’s unlikely this visitor to the city would be at risk.

I hope Ms. Gallo comes back and gives Northampton the benefit of the doubt. That seems likely. She write in another email: “I love Northampton! Won’t stop visiting there!”

We also recently heard from a woman in Hadley, who shared this message to the person who broke into her Breckenridge Road home:

“I have to say, I admire your work ethic! On the job early: (by 7:10 AM at least) target picked; the door bludgeoned open; the computer taken! All by 10 AM! Thank you for not hurting the cat. Thank you for letting the cat out. If only you had left us the external hard drive backup so we could retrieve our family pictures, four generations worth.”

The writer notes that both local and state police came to investigate. She felt their work was thorough and “productive.” But no one has yet been held accountable.

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