Belfast police believe they have identified poolside man sought for questioning

Children take swimming lessons Monday morning at Belfast City Park Pool. Police are searching for a man believed to have tried to entice two small boys away from the pool last Wednesday.
Abigail Curtis | BDN
Children take swimming lessons Monday morning at Belfast City Park Pool. Police are searching for a man believed to have tried to entice two small boys away from the pool last Wednesday.
Posted Aug. 19, 2014, at 4:26 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 19, 2014, at 8:48 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Police in Belfast think they’ve identified the man alleged to have been lurking around the Belfast City Park Pool last week and who may have walked away from the pool with a 7-year-old boy.

The man, whose name is not being released to the media, is believed to have been in Belfast on vacation and is not from the midcoast city, Chief Mike McFadden said Tuesday. Police got information about his identity thanks to a person who saw a photograph of him that had been posted on the police department’s Facebook page, he said.

“The investigation is continuing,” McFadden said. “We will make contact with him. We’re still working with the Waldo County District Attorney’s office to determine what if any charges are appropriate.”

The incident in question happened Thursday, Aug. 14, during children’s swimming lessons at the pool, McFadden said Monday. The man went to the pool area and struck up a conversation with a couple of young boys, and one of them allegedly walked to the nearby playground with him. Then the boy’s baby sitter noticed and ran to collect her charge, the chief said, adding that the incident was “of great concern” to officers.

About an hour after the incident, the baby sitter told the boy’s grandfather what had happened, and the grandfather took them both to the police station to make a report. McFadden said the man apparently returned to the pool later and started to talk to another male child, who did not leave the pool area.

The baby sitter did take several photographs of the man with the mobile phone application Snapchat, which makes photos disappear after a short period of time.

Belfast police contacted the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit to see about recovering the Snapchat photographs, which eventually were retrieved from the girl’s phone by a Bangor Police Department detective.

Norm Poirier, Belfast’s parks and recreation director, said Monday at the Belfast City Park pool that he believes this incident is an opportunity for parents to educate their children about how to be careful around strangers.

“It’s just a matter of community awareness,” Poirier said, adding that he does not believe the pool or park are not safe. “I think it’s a wonderful place to bring children and families.”

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