– Park Falls Police Department is investigating two incidents when a man approached middle school boys earlier this month. It’s an incident that the City of Park Falls Chief Jerome Ernst says he has not experienced in the last 30 years. “This type of report is very rare for us, but you see these types of things happen. You now all over the place, Park Falls is not exempt.,” Ernst said.
Ernst says back on September 8th, a middle school cross country runner was approached by a man after his practice near Chequamegon High School in Park Falls. The man told the boy that he was from ‘Up North’, and was asking for help to find the hospital. The second incident occurred on September 16th, when a man matching a similar description was seen on Saunders Avenue in Park Falls near Hines Park. When he approached two boys who were also in Middle School.
“The person only stated ‘Do you want to race’, and the kid just kinda ignored him, because he is a stranger, and he wasn’t comfortable about it,” Ernst said. “The other child however, tells us that the person said, ‘Do you want to race me to my house. If you win I’ll give you some prize or treats’, Something like that,” Ernst said.
Then last Friday a man matching a similar description was also seen in Wausau. According to a Facebook post and video posted online, he was accused of watching a group of girls.
“The description of the individual, looks a little bit like the person in the video. Although it’s hard to tell because the videos are a little bit shaded and dark. The vehicle is definitely not the same like it is in Park Falls,” Ernst said.
However, Park Falls and Wausau Police Department are partnering up to see if the incidents may be connected.
Even if the cases are not connected, Ernst says it’s a good reminder of stranger danger.
“If you are going out to play or do things or walk over to the park, stay in groups with your trusted friends or family. Talk to them about stranger danger. Not to immediately trust, a new person or strange person,” Ernst said.