Police: Hazleton man killed during standoff sent lewd packages, letters to young girls
HAZLETON (WOLF) -- Last Monday, Hazleton police officers got a tip about a threatening social media post 46-year-old Joseph Polin posted online, and went to his house on East Elm Street to talk.
Polin shot at those officers and barricaded himself inside, later killing himself.
Now, in the aftermath of that standoff.. a disturbing discovery that continues to grow.
Police say Polin was sending packages to girls between the ages of 12 and 16. Those letters containing photos of the girls along with graphic images and letters.
"There was a lot of work that he put into this in order to find all of these victims throughout 29 states and three different countries."
Those countries are England, Canada, and *China, where Chief Speziale says the latest concerned parent he's spoken to called from today.
And this morning, Bushkill Township Police Department in Northampton County posted a warning to parents on its Facebook page after a letter was sent to a young girl there last week.
"We have parents that are telling that us that there's pictures of their child from the rear with their backpack and they've never taken or posted a photo like that. So those were people that were in a close proximity. So does that mean he was traveling and stalking people? We're not sure yet."
Police are still searching through various pieces of evidence, including one of Polin's computers and storage sheds. They've also tried to stop mail from Polin yet to be delivered.
But he says going forward, its important for people to be careful with what they post online.
"We post pictures that we think are so innocent. You post a birthday picture of a cake. One female posted a picture of getting her driver's license, enough for someone to zoom in, Mr. Polin to zoom in and get the information."
We spoke to Shannon Peduto, the executive director of the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center about what parents can do to protect their children online.
"You want to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child and just make sure you're talking to them about what is safe, what is not, that your information on the internet is not safe and it can go places. To basically be careful on what you're sharing."
Chief Speziale says it doesn't appear that anyone else is involved in this besides Polin and there's no ongoing threat to the victims or the public.
Anyone who receives one of those packages should make sure to call Hazleton Police.