The Jacksonville Police Department is issuing a follow-up statement about a man allegedly offering limo rides to schoolchildren.
The police department put out a warning Friday indicating they received information about a man driving around Lincoln Elementary during drop-off and pickup times, speaking to children and offering them rides in a 1992 Lincoln limousine with Missouri license plates. Police describe the driver as 60-years-old, 5-foot 11-inches tall and around 265 pounds.
In the press release issued yesterday, authorities say the alleged incident reported last week was an anonymous complaint that has not been confirmed by any parents.
Jacksonville Police Lieutenant Rodney Cox says at no time did any children ever get into the vehicle, nor did the subject threaten or attempt to lure children into the vehicle with anything.
Cox says it’s without question extremely inappropriate behavior, but at this point, it has not crossed the threshold of being illegal.
“We had an anonymous complaint. We cannot verify or say that that complaint actually happened because we don’t have any parents or kids coning forth saying that they were approached by this guy, but yet we still wanted to be proactive in this and let people know- if it is true- to be on the lookout for the guy in the limo if he is doing it,” says Jacksonville Police Lieutenant Rodney Cox.
“Let your kids know [not to] get into the car, or anybody’s car if you don’t know them. But because the potential seriousness of a crime happening like this, we wanted to go ahead and put this out there and let the public know that this potential danger could be out there.”
Cox says rumors being spread on Facebook indicate the police department isn’t doing anything to stop the driver. He says that’s not true, and that the department is actively investigating.
“We have identified an individual that we believe was the person that the anonymous caller’s talking about. We’ve talked to him, we’ve talked to people that’s been around him or where he was actually living. We’re actively patrolling the school zones and actively investigating this until we prove that he’s not dong it or until we have somebody that comes forward and says, ‘Yes, I was approached by him,’” Cox says. “And then if we can prove there was a crime, we’ll make an arrest.”
The JPD states the “number of incidents that are being rumored about is incorrect.”
Authorities say there have only been two verified complaints of a man asking people to go for a ride. Those happened last August involving who police believe is the same person allegedly offering rides at school. One complainant was a 24-year-old woman and the other was a 16-year-old girl.
In both cases, police say neither female reported being threatened or lured by the subject.
Authorities are encouraging anyone who has verifiable information to come forward so it can be investigated.
Story correction: In the original version of this article, we said that Cox said there was a reported incident near Turner Junior High School by school officials, but that it was still being verified by police. Cox says this statement is not true, and that the Turner incident was a rumor started on Facebook that was never reported to police.