UPDATE: Man who approached kids was not child predator

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PHOENIX -- According to the Phoenix Police Department, a possible child predator wasn't a predator at all.

Police say the person who approached some children near Third and Glendale avenues March 25 is actually a man who lives in the neighborhood and the situation is a misunderstanding.

Officer James Holmes said it appears the man was, in fact, building a tree swing for his wife. He had seen a few in the neighborhood and he did ride throughout the area and speak with children about the swing. He even entered one yard and took measurements.

Holmes said the man and his wife had been away when an e-mail went out to the neighborhood about a possible predator and when they returned, the wife saw the e-mail, realized from the description that the e-mail was about her husband and immediately called police.

The couple also sent out an e-mail to the neighborhood and explained what had happened.

Phoenix police officers are convinced that this was a mistake and some cautions are being discussed in the neighborhood to prevent this type of mistake again.


PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are warning parents about a suspected child predator who approached three boys at two homes in a neighborhood near Third and Glendale avenues -- all within minutes.

Man approached 3 boys in 1 day

Police said Sunday that the man first approached a 4-year-old boy who was playing outside alone Wednesday evening.

The man convinced the child to show him where there was a tree swing. When the boy's mother saw her child walking away with the suspect, she caught up to them and the man fled.

About 10 minutes later, the suspect approached two boys, ages 4 and 7, and asked them to help him build a tree swing. When the boys' mother saw them walk away with the suspect, she ordered the children inside and followed the man in her car until he fled down a bike path too small for her vehicle.

The suspect is described as a balding white man in his 50s or 60. He weighs about 200 pounds has gray hair. He was last seen on a turquoise bike.

Police and block watch groups are on the lookout for the suspect and have warned area parents. Anyone with information is asked to call 602-262-6161.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)