GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A child predator alert in Jefferson County on Saturday turned out to be a false alarm.
The incident showed how parents are being extra careful since the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
At about 6 p.m. an 18-year-old man tried to get a younger teen to his car on West 2nd Avenue in unincorporated Jefferson County outside of Golden. Eileen Travis snapped a picture of the man’s car with her camera phone after the bizarre incident.
“He stepped out and told me to come over to his car, and I said ‘no’ and ran inside,” 13-year-old Hunter Godsey said.
The man told police he was parked on the street in front of Godsey’s home in an attempt to contact his ex-girlfriend who lived a couple of doors down. He apparently wanted the boy to get information from his ex-girlfriend. The photo of the man’s car spread like wildfire on social media and in news outlets. Police said the man turned himself in and explained it was all a misunderstanding.
Even though it was a false alarm, police still encourage children to walk or run away from a stranger and for parents to capture any pictures they can on their cellphone. If it was a real situation, police would have had a better description of a potential child predator.
“That was the key and that’s what we’re asking people to do out there; use tools that are available to you,” Mark Techmeyer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. “If you see something suspicious, almost everyone has a camera on their cellphone; nothing wrong with taking a picture.”
Travis wasn’t afraid to call 911 and neighborhood watch signs warn to any predator that other neighbors aren’t afraid to do the same. Police hope the incident encourages people to act quickly in hopes of preventing another tragic incident from happening.
Police were able to double check the man’s story and are not releasing his name or photo because they do not intend to charge him with a crime.