FREELAND — We are learning more about the man accused of making threats toward local leaders that forced the cancellation of Freeland’s borough council meeting Tuesday night.
Borough officials took the threats seriously because of Wayne Harding of Freeland. He was arraigned, accused of threatening to set fire to the borough and kill the code enforcement officer and the official’s family.
Lenora Stephens is a neighbor of Harding. Stephens said she’s shocked over the accusations.
“He has always been a nice neighbor to me. He’d always say ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ We’d stop and talk and he would give me some vegetables, like green beans or something.”
Fred Sebastian of the Garlic Knot Pizza Shop said Harding was a pleasant customer.
“The economy the way it is, something had to happen to make him snap, like that, to make those comments something had to push him.”
Court records show that Harding pleaded guilty in Scranton 10 years ago to arson-related charges and had several citations including not having a driver’s license.
A Freeland official says Tuesday night’s council meeting was cancelled because of the threats and memories of the shootings at the Ross Township municipal building in Monroe County last month which left three dead and several others wounded.
Dan Bobby is a councilman.
“That’s what we were concerned about, the problems what went on up there, and it could happen to ourselves very easily,” Bobby said.
The Freeland borough council meeting that was cancelled because of the alleged threats has been rescheduled for September 17. Officials promise they will beef up security.