Law enforcement says a 55-year-old Iowa man suspected of trying to kidnap two young children in Central Illinois could be out on the street soon.
The Thomas Anthony is in the Tazewell County Jail, accused of attempting to lure boys away from their parents in Pekin and Lincoln. Anthony allegedly tried to abduct a six-year-old boy from his mom at a fast food restaurant in Pekin Sunday. He was later picked up at Walmart in Lincoln after reportedly approaching another young boy.
The Lincoln child's mother recognized Anthony from pictures taken in Pekin, which were widely circulated on social and traditional media, and called Pekin police who, in turn, contacted authorities in Lincoln.
Right now, Anthony's only facing disorderly conduct charges.
"The level of what (Anthony) did, did not meet the statute of the law for child abduction," Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten tells WMBD's Greg and Dan. "He did not grab the kids, he did not forcibly take them somewhere."
"Obviously, there's nothing illegal with going up to a child and talking with them," Eeten continued, "but, under all the circumstances that happened and the way it happened, it's concerning to you."
Eeten says it's important for parents to have a frank discussion with their children about how to stay safe when approached by strangers.
"That's a hard conversation to have with your child," Eeten admits. "But it's definitely something you want to talk to them about in some degree because it could happen."
Eeten says Anthony could bail himself out and be back on the street pending a court date.