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Berkley Public Safety Seeks Man Who Touched Girl in Park

The suspect impersonated a law enforcement officer Friday evening near the Community Center as he approached two 12-year-olds.

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.

Lynn Vander Meer July 10, 2012 at 04:22 PM
No, we DO want to see them flee the state...far, far away. Perverts don't change. If they identified, they get picked up and reoffend over and over again.
Sally Yeager Hart July 10, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Is that standard operating procedure? Let him re-offend in hopes of catching him again? Please let all your kids know about this, boys and girls. I sure hope those two girls won't be traumatized by that jerk.
Lori R July 10, 2012 at 07:58 PM
This is now my second attempt at leaving a comment. As a lifelong Berkley resident, I am shocked that this incident wasn't immediately reported to the community. This happened FRIDAY ~ it is now TUESDAY! With today's social networking one would assume it would be better to have many sets of eyes on the lookout for this guy. While I support Berkley PD I am very disappointed in their decision to withhold this information. They were naive to think there wasn't chatter on FB over the weekend. I had to wait until today to get confirmation. As a mother of four, I would have wanted to warn my children and educate them once again on stranger danger. This is especially important given the fact this guy is impersonating a police officer! My kids were raised to respect the police! Had he approached my kids, they would have complied and emptied their pockets as well and would have been accosted. C'mon Berkley PD, you can do better!
shana butash July 10, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Completely agree with all of the above. I heard about the incident & tried to contact the department for more information & was transferred to voicemail. There are tons of parents who feel their kids are "safe" going to the fields to watch games or play in the parks, it would have been nice to know this information to alert them to be alert, or changed a plan of letting them hang out alone. Disappointed is not the word to describe the handeling of this event.
Jenna July 10, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Wow....I grew up in Berkley. This never happened when I was growing up. Sure there were a couple of officers that were jerks, but if there was something that involved the entire community. It would've been broadcasted immediately, and parents would've been told to only let their kids outside with adult supervision. Really bad judgement call to keep this a secret. If you tell a mother someone is out to get her kids, she'll do whatever she can to find and stop them. The community would've supported your search. Had you said something that evening and I had seen a random police officer walking around on foot (which is just odd, I've never seen you guys just walking alone, before), around the Community Center or Hurley Field area, I would've reported it immediately. Now how do we even know this guy is from or in the Berkley area? This whole situation could've been handled way better.
Lori R July 10, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Shana, I agree with you 100%, and would also like to point out that this happened to TWO girls....so they already were with a "buddy", which scares me even more! This guy is ballsy to say the least. It just seems like the smart thing to do would have been to circulate his picture and/or this incident immediately.
Heather July 11, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Completely agree. The PD can do MUCH better.
Sally Brown Lesley July 11, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Zero tolerance, forget how you used to do it, residences should have been alerted! This is not the old boys club anymore BPS this is 2012 and citizens can help with todays technology. Kids have picture taking on their cell phones and can dial 911 from any park..... so in critical situations have your children using these tools. It's about saving the children.....THEN catching the perp. duh!!
Leslie Ellis July 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
To clarify the story: The man was dressed in plain clothes (per the description given by BPS), not a uniform.
Jenna July 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Bill Z: What does that have to do with some random sicko on the loose, whose impersonating a police officer?
Bruce inberkley July 11, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Why don't police send broadcast alerts to cell phones? I'd sign up in a second and then when something like this happens hundreds of folks in the community could immediately keep their eyes peeled. They tell us to stay alert but don't tell us when it's most important to.
Leslie Ellis July 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Hi, Bruce! Interesting idea. I'll ask about it!
Robin G. July 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM
This never happened when you were growing up in Berkley? Do you not remember the Oakland County Child Killer?
Robin G. July 15, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Well said, Lori!!

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