Sheriff’s department looking for driver of ‘suspicious vehicle’ taking photos at two Ogle County schools

Ogle County Sheriff's Office logo

OREGON – The Ogle County Sheriff’s Office wants to talk to the driver of a car registered in Indiana who superintendents in Creston and Kings said was taking photos from the road in front of their schools.

The sheriff’s office posted on social media Friday afternoon: “On Thursday, Sept. 14, the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office received reports from both the Creston School District and Kings School District of a suspicious person taking pictures from the roadway in front of the schools.

“The subject was reportedly driving a black Audi. The same vehicle was also observed at a school in a neighboring county. Investigators from the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office have identified the vehicle, a black four-door Audi with Indiana registration. During the course of the investigation, the registration was obtained, and investigators are actively seeking to speak with the driver. The investigation is ongoing.”

Kings Superintendent Matthew Lamb issued a statement about an incident at the school, located at 100 First St., 12 miles east of Oregon, on Thursday morning: “We noticed a car that did not belong parked across our driveway this morning. A black four-door Audi sedan was observed taking pictures of our surroundings and the front of the building.”

Lamb went outside to ask the driver to move the car, and the driver immediately drove away.

“The sheriff’s department was notified and began an investigation,” Lamb’s letter said, noting that the sheriff’s office increased patrols as a “precautionary measure.”

The school in Kings serves about 90 elementary and middle school students in grades K-8.

Creston Elementary School, 202 W. South St., in Creston, 6 miles east of Rochelle, also serves K-8 students in DeKalb, Lee and Ogle counties.

Graduates from both schools attend Rochelle Township High School.

Lamb encouraged parents to discuss these safety tips with their children:

• Walk in groups, not alone.

• Avoid distractions, such as cellphones, and pay attention to surroundings.

• Students approached by a stranger should run away and seek help from others.

• Immediately report any incident that makes a student feel uncomfortable.

“Please know that we take these situations very seriously. The safety of our students is always our absolute top priority,” Lamb said in the letter. “If you see any suspicious activity or have any information on this incident, please contact the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department immediately.”

On Friday morning, Polo Superintendent Kelly Mandrell issued this statement to parents: “Early this morning, we were made aware of a suspicious vehicle that was lurking around other Ogle County school districts yesterday. In working with law enforcement this morning, a more complete description became available. Please be on the lookout for a black Audi sedan with silver wheels and a partial license plate of FLB. The person in the car was allegedly taking pictures with a telescopic lens.”

Mandrell also reminded parents and children to stay “particularly diligent this morning,” to stay alert, travel in groups, not approach strangers and report any suspicious incidents.

“Additionally, the more students can stay off their phones and stay alert, the more likely they are to see potential danger,” she said. “As always, your children’s safety is always our utmost concern.”

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.