Members of the media stake out the house of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in North Attleborough Mass.(Photo Winslow Townson USA TODAY Sports)
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH Mass. The scene on Ronald C. Meyers Drive in Westwood Estates was like any played out in scores of neighborhoods across the country on any given Thursday afternoon. A group of kids playing roller hockey in a driveway. A small black and white dog rolling on a front yard. Some younger kids chasing each other on another lawn. Parents pushing strollers. A school bus dropping kids off after school. Even the ice cream truck came by.
But the dozens of satellite TV trucks and cars lining the street and the scores of media staked out in an undeveloped lot across from No. 22 belied the normalcy. A near constant stream of vehicles filled the street. A couple of kids on bikes rode up and down the street calling out the various states represented by the license plates Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut Maine New York. People who didn't seem to be from the neighborhood walked by to see what was going on.
All this even though the subject of all the attention had not been home for several hours.
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Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez the subject of a homicide investigation left his large grey shingled home with a three car garage shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday in a white Audi SUV. He was followed by media helicopters as he drove to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and then later to Boston probably to meet with his lawyer. In between was a stop at a gas station where he was approached by several members of the media but did not make a comment.
Near Corliss Landing less than a mile away from Hernandez's home as the crow flies two police cars sat at the end of dirt road near where 27 year old Odin Lloyd's body was found Monday.
Steve Varney a long time resident of North Attleboro knew Hernandez lived in town but until Thursday afternoon had no idea where. So he set out on his Keeway moped to find out.
It's a circus he said. When I was riding up here I did not expect to see all these cars. And then when I see all the cameras lined up there's got to be about 30. It's just wow.
Varney though said he feels like most people in town.
They just for the most part are getting a big kick out of it he said. But they don't seem to be backing him up that's for sure. From what I've heard they just assume he's guilty. And it's just another circus with the NFL.
Hernandez is not the first Patriots player to live in the neighborhood. One resident said Ty Warren Deion Branch and Richard Seymour have all been neighbors. Hernandez bought the home from Warren.
This is what I call the quietest street in America said a resident of Ronald C. Meyers Drive and father of two who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case. But it just feels like the innocence is gone a little bit. A lot of these guys that's why they move here because of what this neighborhood offers. It's families. It's kids. The ice cream man comes by and it's the biggest thrill of the day.
My oldest he's 14. The first thing he said was he doesn't want anything bad to happen. And when you hear something like that it's hard to explain. And (Hernandez is) a kid himself.
Honestly he's great because he's like any other neighbor. Waves and says hi. I say hi. He just moved in. He's always cordial. My little one goes out to get ice cream. He comes out and gets ice cream too. And they talk about which ice cream they like the best. That's like any neighbor. It's no different.
But this week it certainly has been.
I left at 4 30 this morning for work. What you see is what I left with the resident said.
And it's been like this since Monday when news broke of the investigation and authorities' interest in Hernandez.
I think waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning and hearing helicopters over your house is not something that you're used to said the neighbor who has lived in the area for just over four years.
Varney meanwhile awaits movement in the case.
It's really too bad if he is guilty if he's part of it it's really too bad because everybody loved him the Patriots and partly him. But what are you gonna do he said.
What is Varney going to do He described himself as a big time Patriots fan. Does this affect his feelings for the team
Not at all he said with a laugh. Just win baby.