Families report Harrisonville man regarding stranger danger

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- A Harrisonville mom says a man in his 50s started talking to her children at a public pool, and now she's warning others of stranger danger.

Police say this isn't the first time they've heard about this man, in fact, police say many people have been reporting about him approaching them or their children, and saying inappropriate things.

Jenni O'Connor took her kids to a Harrisonville pool recently. While she was in the water with her toddler, she saw a grown man talking to her children, so she walked over.

"He hurried up and darted off," O'Connor said. "That`s when I noticed he had given my four-year-old chips and dip."

O'Connor's 15-year-old daughter, Isabelle Bearce, says there was something not right with him.

"He asked if I knew anybody that was single," Bearce said. "I was telling him how my brother is deaf, and he was like 'Oh will you ask him if he wants to be my special friend?'"

O'Connor says she told the pool manager and police. Both told her it wasn't the first time someone had reported him. The man's sister tells FOX 4 his name is Mark and he's 56 years old.

"The comments that he`s made, although they are inappropriate and unwanted, he has not broken the law," said Lieutenant Chris Osterberg, with the Harrisonville Police Department.

He says they've gotten a lot of harassment calls about Mark, and say they're keeping an eye on him.

"Especially with school starting, we want parents and children to be vigilant when they`re out, and if they run across anybody they don`t have a good feeling about, attempts to coax them into a car, give them something, these are people they don`t know. That kind of stuff needs to be reported to us immediately," said Lt. Osterberg.

O'Connor says Mark made comments about her daughters looks, and continued talking to her even after knowing her age.

"He told my daughter that she was very beautiful and he was hoping to meet someone similar to her," O'Connor said. "It just really is alarming that someone approached them who didn't know them, asked their name, their ages, and asked them to come over his house and gave them the apartment complex he lived in."

Mark's sister says he has a mental illness and means well, he just doesn't know any better. She also says she's going to try and watch her brother more carefully until she can find a 24 hour care facility for him.