Champaign police officers have arrested a suspect accused of approaching a 12-year-old girl and offering her money to enter his vehicle.
On August 2, 2012, at approximately 3:30 PM, officers were dispatched to the area of Hickory Street and Bellefontaine Street for a male subject who attempted to lure a 12-year-old girl into his vehicle.
The victims reported standing at the corner of Bellefontaine and Hickory Streets, with several of her friends, when an unknown man slowed down his vehicle and approached the group. At this time, the man motioned for a 12-year-old girl to come to him. As she began walking away, the man continued following her. The suspect then pulled his vehicle into a driveway that she had entered and offered her money to get into his vehicle. The girl then ran home and informed a parent about the incident. The parent immediately contacted police and provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle.
Within minutes, officers had located the suspect, 53 y/o RICKY A. SMITH of Urbana, while he was driving in the area of Eureka and Hickory Streets. Witnesses positively identified Smith as the offender and he was transported to the Champaign Police Department for an interview. At the conclusion of the interview, Smith was arrested for Indecent Solicitation of a Child and transported to the Champaign County Jail.
“Because police were immediately contacted and provided with a detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle, our patrol officers were able to locate the suspect within minutes,” says Chief Anthony Cobb. “This is a perfect example of how timely reporting can assist police in solving crimes and protecting our community. Great job to the parent, witnesses and all officers involved in this case,” he added.
Parents are reminded to continue having discussions with children about how to respond when approached by strangers and to immediately contact police if a crime occurs.