Authorities across Garfield County looking into stranger-danger reports
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Area police are looking into reports that a man known as “Limo Mike” has been seen trying to lure children into his vehicle using candy and toys, but no arrest has been made and authorities are shying away from giving out the man’s full name because he has not committed any criminal act.
But, according to numerous postings on Facebook, emails forwarded to the Post Independent and other sources, the community has, for more than a month, been on the alert as much as the police.
Parents of school-aged children have been cautioned to be on the lookout for the man, in a warning issued this week to local parents by Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko.
“After an absence from the area, he has returned to the Silt, Rifle, New Castle and Glenwood Springs area attempting to entice children into his limo,” Sirko wrote in a letter sent to parents on June 26.
Sirko’s letter stated that the man was issued a “trespass warning” by Glenwood Springs police, and was told to stay away from all Roaring Fork School District properties in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson confirmed that he gave the man “a verbal trespass warning” when the man walked into his office on Wednesday to talk about the community’s concerns. Wilson said the list of properties covered by the warning include the Re-1 school district facilities, the Glenwood Springs Community Center, the Hot Springs Pool, the West Glenwood Mall and a private residence.
Wilson said area authorities have been aware of the man’s presence, and his tendency to alarm people, since 2008, but that he has no serious criminal record in this region.
“He’s been kind of in and out over the last five years, and now he’s back,” Wilson said.
Other departments, too, confirmed that they are keeping an eye out for the man.
“They’ve [the DA’s office] been sending out email alerts to all the departments, and we’ve been getting them,” said Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling, who added that the man has not been sighted in Carbondale.
Schilling said he started getting alerts on the subject “about a month ago.”
Sirko urged parents to contact police if they spot the man on school district property, describing him as “in his mid-40s and has reddish blonde hair. He is often seen wearing a purple telephone cord or something similar as a necklace. He is approximately 5-feet, 10-inches tall.
“If [he is spotted] on any of our school grounds,” Sirko continued, “you should contact your local law enforcement agency in Glenwood, Carbondale or Basalt and they will arrest him due to the warning.”
An official with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed that deputies are looking into the reports about this man, but that they have not had sufficient cause to arrest him because he has committed no crime.
Walt Stowe, public information officer for Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, told the Post Independent on June 26 that the sheriff’s office is aware of the concerns expressed by area families.
“I know that all the agencies are on alert,” Stowe said. “But until he actually does something wrong, we can’t do anything.”
District Attorney Sherry Caloia, in a press release issued June 26, acknowledged the mounting concern among parents and community members, but also said that there has been no cause for police to act.
“At this point there has been no known criminal activity or children harmed, to our knowledge,” Caloia stated, while assuring citizens that “all law enforcement in Garfield County, including the sheriff, police departments and the district attorney are very aware of the activity and the concern.”
Caloia wrote that police agencies need help from the public, both in terms of safeguarding and closely monitoring their children any time they are outside, and alerting law enforcement if any suspicious activity occurs.
Caloia’s statement does not identify any single individual as being suspected of criminal activity, but noted that “the enticement of children is often done by highly skilled persons who will appear to be normal, friendly and helpful.”
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