A spokesperson for the Grand Rapids Police Department said people on the West Side immediately responded to photos released, leading to the arrest of a sex offender.

A convicted sex offender has been apprehended in the attempted abductions of several young boys in the west side area around Richmond Park. He has yet to be charged in the incidents, but he is off the street, thanks to the response of the community to photos of the suspect posted to social media earlier this week.

In a live feed to the WOOD-TV 8 Tuesday morning, Police Sergeant John Wittkowkski not only lauded praise for the community response, he added that the boys who were approached knew how to flee their potential abductor.

"As far as we know everyone of these young boys acted the way they were supposed to act. They fled the area, they spoke to an adult. They were completely forthcoming and gave the information that they needed to give to give us proper and accurate descriptions of who this predator was."

He went on to say, "We requested the assistance of the community. We appreciate the amount of information and the amount of tips ...it all culminated with the arrest of a suspect...This is a perfect example of what happens when the community comes together when we have a serious incident such as this."

Larry Allred, in particular, noticed right away that the man in the photos was a homeless man he had encountered many times in his neighborhood.

“We found out that he was a pedophile and I asked him to move on, so he moved to the other side of the building, to the other side of the street,” Allred said. “You could see it in his eyes: the darkness, the evil.”

He told WOOD-TV 8 News “This morning, I woke up and I saw the news coverage that he was wanted and I quickly took pictures of where he was at and sent them and called the police."

 

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