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Oconomowoc police warn suspicious man texting and Snapchatting kids

Posted at 9:25 PM, May 09, 2019

OCONOMOWOC — Authorities in Oconomowoc have warned parents about a suspicious man who has tried interacting with middle school students through text and Snapchat.

Oconomowoc police said a 23-year-old man was spotted sitting in the grass by Silver Lake Intermediate last week. Officers made contact with him and sent him on his way. A few days later they learned he was reaching out to kids through text and Snapchat.

"It's very, very scary," said Ashley Enge, a mother to three kids.

"That wasn't part of the work that we grew up in as kids," said Samantha Jefferson, a mom to two kids.

"At this point the subject has not broken any laws or anything of that nature," said Police Chief Ron Buerger. "We just want parents to know that the situation is existing right now in the community and give them an opportunity to talk to their children about it."

The Oconomowoc Area School District emailed parents about the man Wednesday. He was described as about 6 ft. tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Police said he drives an older black Hyundai sedan.

"It was actually my neighbor's children that that happened to," said Enge.

Parents said with how the world and technology are today they do not think it is ever too early to start talking with kids about safety.

"With all the kids I'm very proactive with all of that because even somebody who appears to be the nicest person like anyone of us you know, you never know what kind of sick mind that they could have," said Enge.

"For us it was just you know a conversation about listen to your gut, listen to your heart," said Jefferson. "You kind of know when something doesn't feel right."

"With younger children, they should be talking about stranger danger and the fact that children should not be talking to any strangers at all," said Buerger. "When you get to older teenage children they may find it cool to hang around someone who’s older but they should be looking at the fact that he’s older than them and that’s not necessarily appropriate."

Buerger said these conversations are more important now than ever with technology.

"We investigate a number of cases involving social media and technology that wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago before it existed to the extent that it does today," he said.