The is seeking the public's help after a man impersonating a law enforcement officer approached two girls Friday evening near the and touched one of them inappropriately.
The man, who was using a walkie-talkie-type device with a touch screen and an antenna, told the 12-year-old girls he was there to investigate a report they were lighting bushes on fire, BPS Sgt. Pete Kelly said Tuesday morning.
The suspect ordered the girls to empty their pockets so he could check for matches and lighters and then touched one of them inappropriately before leaving the scene on foot, Kelly said.
"The Community Center was basically closed at the time," with just one employee scheduled to work the concession stand during an event that was canceled for reasons unrelated to the incident, he said.
Kelly added that that employee has been interviewed and is not a suspect.
Police are looking for a man fitting this description (see attached sketch):
- 5'8" to 5'11" tall
- Weighing 180 to 220 pounds
- Short, dark hair with a 5 o'clock shadow
- Wearing a yellow shirt and khaki shorts
Anyone with information is asked to call the Berkley Public Safety Department at (248) 658-3380, Kelly said.
For some in the community, the department's public outreach took too long.
"I am appalled that Berkley Public Safety has not communicated a 'stranger danger' warning to its residents," resident Kelley Smith e-mailed Berkley Patch. "I live 1/2 block from the park where this allegedly took place. It’s next to the community center (where I believe summer camp takes place), tennis courts and the track at ."
Sgt. Kelly said the department kept quiet in hopes officers could capture the suspect before he was alerted by media coverage and potentially fled.
"It took time to get the composite artist to work with the two girls and get the sketch done," he said. "The hope was, heck, we can figure out who this guy is. We pulled up photos of registered sex offenders in a 5-mile radius and compared them to the sketch.
"We don't want to alert bad guys and have them flee the state," Kelly said. "We don't want him to see himself on the news and flee.
"My job is to catch this guy and protect the rights of the victims," he said.
Residents or business owners who have information to report or who notice something unusual in their neighborhood can call the at 248-658-3380 or the at 248-541-1180. Public Safety officials encourage residents and business owners to keep their doors and windows secured at all times.