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Chesterfield parents asked to watch for suspicious man at bus stops

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

UPDATE:Chesterfied police tell us they have identified the person some parents thought was suspicsious.  Police say he is a lawn care worker who had pulled over because of trouble with his pickup truck.  Police say there is absolutely, nothing suspicious about the man.

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI)-- Police are hoping to identify a suspicious person spotted near a number of bus stops in a Chesterfield neighborhood near Baxter and Clayton Roads.  Police received reports of an older, heavy-set, white male with gray hair and a gray beard.  He was driving a small maroon or burgundy pickup truck.

Police say even if there`s a perfectly good explanation for the man`s presence, they still applaud parents for reporting their suspicions.

"They`re the ones who know who belongs in the neighborhood and what cars belong in the neighborhood," said Chesterfield Police Lt. Mike Thompspon.  "When they see something that doesn`t fit, absolutely we want them to call us."

The Parkway School District sent out warnings to parents and students of schools in the area.  Here is the letter sent from Parkway West Middle School:

Dear Parents,

I want to make you aware that the Chesterfield Police Department is currently investigating reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area. The vehicle is described as a small, maroon or burgundy pickup truck and the driver is an older, heavy set man with gray hair and, possibly, a gray beard. The reports vary, but on at least one occasion the man was seen walking outside the truck with the hood up.

If you know who this man is or have any information that could assist in the investigation, please contact the Chesterfield Police Department immediately at 636/537-3000. To our knowledge, the man has not attempted to contact any of our students but we wanted you to be aware as a precaution. Parkway`s Security Department and SROs are monitoring the situation closely and working with the police to determine whether we have any reason for concern. We have also let our bus drivers know so they can be on the lookout for this individual. You can help, too, by watching for this vehicle and reporting anything unusual to the police.

We will continue to be vigilant about protecting our students while they are in our care. I encourage you to spend a few minutes with your children and remind them about what to do if a stranger approaches or if they feel uncomfortable in any situation out in the community.

Absolutely nothing is more important to us than the safety of your child. Thanks for everything you do to help keep our students safe as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.

Sincerely,

Linda A. Lelonek
Principal

127 comments

  • J

    If this poor guy is trying to get a case together for slander, this thread could hurt his case, do you NOT understand that? If you personally know him, tell him what you are posting ALL over the internet, your famous on Facebook now! Hey, do and say what you want, understand that might effect this mans business. I’m sure he will thank you.

  • Diana's #1 fan

    I am 6 foot tall. black hair, wear an eyepatch, medium build. I drive a 1983 chevy van, maroon, with no windows

  • Diana Malan

    This poor guy would be the first person to stop and help you move your car out of traffic if it broke down, or help you change your tire, or defend you if you were wronged.

    Cannot say that for Chesterfield.

    I hope this is broadcast all over facebook.

    Chesterfield parents and fox 2 news need to be called out.

    This could have been anyone they did this to.

    I see people I do not know all the time in my neighborhood, construction workers trying to drum of work, meat salesmen, trying to get sales, religious people trying to get people to go to church…I HAVE NEVER FREAKED OUT AND CALLED THE POLICE OR CHANNEL 2 NEWS, NEVER! How absolutely ridiculous.

    And to every reader on facebook and the internet, how about you imagine it was you that this person decided to lodge a compaign against, out of paranoia….

    Really, is this how people conduct themselves these days?
    Really?

    Ask yourselves, what if my neighbor did this to me.
    What if……

  • J

    Rick, LOL! And Diana, I would probably remove your last name… Never know when a sicko might decide to check out this thread.

  • Diana Malan

    If Chesterfield parents and Fox 2 News can apparently say anything they want to,

    I have every right to state the truth.

    I am sorry if their behavior has caused them embarrassment, at least all of their descriptions and vehicle they might drive aren’t broadcast on the news as gossipers causing damage, beware, anyone who knows the identity of these people give us a call.

    Sick, once again, mass hysteria in Chesterfield.

    Reminds me of the story of Chicken Little telling everyone that the sky is falling.

  • Concerned Mom

    So you’re suggesting that anytime a parent sees a person near a school or bus stop who doesn’t belong there (car problems or not) we should ignore it? Are you insane?!?!? I’m going to assume this man wasn’t in a truck with a company name on it or wearing any clothing with the company logo on it. This would throw up a red flag to any parent. I understand you’re a mother and grandmother so you should understand the world isn’t as safe as it used to be when you were raising your children.

    • Diana Malan

      Really, so all professionals that provide a service in your neighborhood (that don’t belong there) are called into police as “potential predators”

      Mass hysteria in Chesterfield…beware service professionals, this could be you.

  • Concerned Mom

    Also, while the definition of slander you posted is correct your forgetting one very important detail. NO ONE DISCLOSED HIS NAME OR COMPANY! This would be the most important piece of information to be able to classify this as “slander”

    • Diana Malan

      Really, so your description and the vehicle you drive is broadcast on the news. People start avoiding you, people are afraid of you, people call the police when you come into the neighborhood.

      That would be okay with you? I doubt it. You would be singing a different story. There WAS NOTHING to suggest any wrong doing. Only ONE woman’s paranoia and mass gossip and texting.

      Chicken Little, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

    • Diana Malan

      Gossip HURTS people. It is dangerous.

      Your poor children, the paranoia that you all must be instilling into them.

      “Listen little Johnny, if someone does not look like us, or if they don’t drive a vehicle like us, they are bad, watch out”

      Sick

  • Diana Malan

    Bottom Line, unless you live in Chesterfield, DO NOT GO!!!

    Don’t frequent their restaurants, their stores, NOTHING, stay away, the people think that if you are an “outsider” you are a predator.

  • Concerned Mom

    So you’re saying every man that is heavy set with grey hair is going to get avoided? I certainly don’t think this is the case. I will only avoid people with this description if they are hanging outside my schools school or around his bus stop.

    Also, you should probably take your name down from your posts. People can find out a lot about you like where you work, where you live, where you attended school, your friends, family, etc….. You should know this by how much education I found you’ve completed. The internet is an amazing tool.

    • Diana Malan

      Frankly, Concerned Mom,
      Lawn Care man did not hang outside of the school, nor did he hang out at the bus stops. He was doing his job and had to pull over because his truck was overheating, it just so happened that a woman walking her child to the bus stop saw him. In fact, she asked of him, and HE TOLD HER HIS CAR OVERHEATED.

      Let’s say that a surveyor was working and stood at the corner across from the bus stop…is he a predator? In your description…he would be.

      It is sick.

      NOBODY was approached, he was quietly trying to get his truck back on the road.

      REALLY, if you are interested in the safety of your children, then do not emotionally hurt them by causing them fear for NO REASON. Save that for ACTUAL threats, not chicken littles rantings.

      I cannot tell you how absolutely appalled I am at you all.

    • Diana Malan

      And absolutely, I am saying that every gray haired heavy set man driving a maroon truck will be suspect. ABSOLUTELY.

      A pulic apology is due from you all and channel 2 news.

      • Concerned Mom

        You will absolutely not receive an apology in any form from me, or I’m sure anyone else. You are the ONLY one within this thread who thinks there should be no concern. Thankfully there was no threat, but can you imagine if it were a predictor? And you’re asserting that we should just brush off anytime we have a bad feeling? The lady obviously was uncomfortable for whatever reason and felt it necessary to notify someone. Who are you to say what she did wasn’t right?

        Get over it! You wouldn’t give two shits if you didn’t know this man. Actually, I can almost guarantee that you would have been appreciative of this information. A preditor can easily fake car problems!!! Like I said before, maybe if this “service professional” had some visible company logos this wouldn’t have been a problem. Maybe he should look into that, not only will it help promote the business but it could likely stop these types of things from happening.

        And what makes you think anyone is scaring their children with this information? I’m surely not telling my son about this story, and I highly doubt many people are. At most this probably made parents sit down with their children and go over some safety precautions and what to look for in certain situations.

  • Concerned Mom

    I actually just moved to Chestefield from Wentzville and no one treats me like an outsider! Everyone is very friendly! You should visit some time, people are just as nice here as they are in Wentzville, where you live.

    • Diana Malan

      I do not hear of people calling the police and channel two news because there is a service professional in the area, where I live.

      If that is what you all want to do with your time, do it to yourselves.

  • Concerned Mom

    Here is the email the Parkway School District sent all of the parents and in no way is it slanderous of anyone. It’s just keeping parents informed, I’m sure you would have appreciate this information if this was happening around your child’s school.

    “Dear Parents,

    I want to make you aware that the Chesterfield Police Department is currently investigating reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area. The vehicle is described as a small, maroon or burgundy pickup truck and the driver is an older, heavy set man with gray hair. The reports vary, but on at least one occasion the man was seen walking outside the truck acting suspiciously with the hood up.

    If you know who this man is or have any information that could assist in the investigation, please contact the Chesterfield Police Department immediately. To our knowledge, the man has not attempted to contact any of our students but we wanted you to be aware as a precaution. Parkway’s Security Department and SROs are monitoring the situation closely and working with the police to determine whether we have any reason for concern. We have also let our bus drivers know so they can be on the lookout for this individual. You can help, too, by watching for this vehicle and reporting anything unusual to the police.

    We will continue to be vigilant about protecting our students while they are in our care. I encourage you to spend a few minutes with your children and remind them about what to do if a stranger approaches or if they feel uncomfortable in any situation out in the community.

    Absolutely nothing is more important to us than the safety of your child. Thanks for everything you do to help keep our students safe as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.”

  • Diana Malan

    I have not EVER once said that there is not any cause for people to watch out and take care of their children.

    What I am saying is, if you see something that bothers you, call the police and have them check it out

    NOT call each other and text like lunatics exaggerating the story, causing alarm where there is none, accusing someone of something that has never been done (specifically going to the bus stops and the school, lies). Gossip hurts.

    Yes, things happen to children everyday…usually a close friend to the family, family member, teacher…someone that the child KNOWS and TRUSTS.

    Not some poor Lawn Care man whose car overheated and he was trying to fix it.

    FACTS, NOT GOSSIP and HYSTERIA.

    So, to answer your question, you are making a falsehood if you think I do not think that people should care for their children.

    You should not assume that you know me and say things that aren’t true…but once again, that is what you all do over there in Chesterfield.

  • Diana Malan

    Rick, in answer to your post…
    Of course you would not want me in your city, I would keep a level head and not give in to Chicken Littles “The sky is falling” tactics. I would not look for something that is not there, I would not gossip and exaggerate to MAKE A STORY.

    I would call the gossips out and clear up the lies caused by it.

    You would not understand integrity.

  • Diana Malan

    THANK YOU CHANNEL 2 NEWS for retracting the story and doing the right thing.

    It is sad that this type of thing goes on, but I appreciate your integrity to admit it was a mistake.

  • Diana Malan

    Thank you Chesterfield for all of your apologies for gossiping and creating a ficticious story that caused concern for the community and a poor service professional and especially for your children.

    Thank you for your integrity.

    I wish I could have wrote this in earnest, unfortunately, I cannot.

    • rick

      Well how nice of you! I didn’t think you had a nice bone in your body. I am so wrong to think of you as a troll! So sorry!

      • rick

        Thank you for such a nice comment! I have lived in Chesterfield for over 25 years and never met a pathetic ill informed person like you! Please stay away from our fine city and keep your boyfriend/husband away also go crawl back to your cave again! Not sure why you left in the first place you disgusting troll!

  • Dani

    I am a mother of two in the chesterfield area. I happen to know the woman that first reported seeing the truck and am thankful that she did. She is a smart, responsible and very reasonable woman. By reading your comments above, I don’t think you have the whole story. No body accused the man of being a predator, only asked if he was and the police were called right away. I received the email and passed it on to friends in the area, including the school. I have also received and passed on one that says he was “ok”. This is the “gossip” that was circulated among us crazy, slandering Chesterfield parents.
    Hi neighbors!

    Just wanted to let you know about something that happened this morning. I walked my son to the bus stop at 8:30 and there was a maroon pick up out in front of our house. The man was a heavier white guy with longish grey hair. I asked if everything was ok and he said he was having engine problems. I kept walking to the bus stop and the guy drove out of my sight. I felt weird and even said to another mother that it is sad that I think this unfamiliar guy is shady & lurking around! Anyway, the bus came and the bus driver saw the truck and said that he had seen the truck up by the other bus stop sitting up there stopped. He said he felt weird about it and he was concerned. The truck stopped again a few houses down where I couldn’t see him very well.

    I did call the police to let them know and they said that they would have a patrol car check it out. So, the point of the story… I just wanted to tell you all to keep your eyes out and if you are noticing a maroon pick up truck hanging around, then say something! He’s probably a nice citizen having crummy Monday morning car trouble, but I couldn’t shake the weird feeling and can’t think about something happening and I didn’t said anything.

    Sorry to be such a Monday morning downer!

    Your neighborhood watchwoman,

    Pass it on to other neighbors if you are so inclined!

    email #2
    Good news! The police have identified a truck and driver matching the description. Even better news… he seems to be legit. He was giving bids in the area and the landscape company where he is employed verified that he was driving the truck. They are getting magnets for it now :) The police did lots of legwork and had tips from residents to lead up to this, so being aware does help in the big picture!

    Sorry to have scared everyone, but we do need to be aware of any suspicious activity in our area. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Thanks to everyone who kept us posted on the situation. Hopefully this makes everyone feel more at ease!

    As far as other service professionals, or anyone else coming into the area, yes be aware. This is a neighborhood watch are and we notice and are not afraid to report things that seem out of place.
    Quite frankly, Diane, I’m fine with your staying clear of the area. You come across and an ignorant and mean woman. I’m glad your not my grandma or neighbor.

  • Diana Malan

    I am glad you let other service professionals know that outsiders will be reported as suspicious people and that their descriptions will be broadcast on the news because of your “neighborhood watch”. Maybe the neighborhood watch can do each others’ plumbing, lawn care, air conditioning and furnace repairs, small appliance repairs. Because, it is absolutely ridiculous that the gossip got out of control and it caused concern for the community, lawn care professional and your children. Maybe you believe that this is healthy…it is not.

    Yes, it did cost the police time that they have precious little of…Gossip hurts, and that is all this was.

    Hopefully, this should have changed the way that the “neighborhood watch” handles their paranoia – but it does not sound like it did.

    I am sorry for the police that have to chase ghosts for you all.

  • Diana Malan

    The bottom line is, GOSSIP IS DANGEROUS, and it causes repercussions. What will you do when your basement has a crack in the wall and you basement is flooding? What will you do when your pipes get a leak and your basement is flooding, and your water bill is going through the roof? What will you do when your washer and dryer quit working? How will you handle the cold and hot weather when your furnace or air conditioner break down? Who will make sure there are no weeds or pests in your yard, or in your trees?

    Nobody will respond because you have publicly announced that they will all be “suspect”, “thought of as potential predators”, “suspicious”…because the “neighborhood watch” (gossips) do not have a proper protcol for things.

    I am happy not to bring my business to Chesterfield. Thank you for the uninvite.

    Once again, another shining example of the residents of Chesterfield.

  • Diana Malan

    I was a public servant for eleven years and I NEVER once submitted a report to the Courts due to gossip. There has to be facts and evidence, not hysteria and paranoia.

    Perhaps, the Chesterfield Police Department coudl take time out of their busy schedule (which will save them time chasing ghosts) and TRAIN the neighborhood watch how to proceed and what is proper protocol.

    That is what would be most beneficial, not trying to justify your error.

  • Diana Malan

    In fact, I believe that there should be an ordinance banning “neighborhood watches” who have not been TRAINED and CERTIFIED as an OFFICIAL neighborhood watch.

    This would solve 90% of the gossip, creation of stories, fear for no reson, hysteria and paranoia, and innocent good people being call “suspicious, suspect, and potential predators”

  • Madison

    Wow!!! You win Diana! You have managed to turn an entire city against you. I’m not talking about Chesterfield, I’m talking about St. Louis. Because of your outrageous comments, this article has been shared on Facebook so many times from people all around St. Louis and even in IL. In your own terms, you have slandered the entire city of Chesterfield. You have made this so much worse than it ever would have been. Now that’s love!

  • Diana Malan

    It hasn’t been me, Madison, it has been the fine residents of Chesterfield and their short sightedness and gossip.

    At least the truth has come out.

    And as stated by several citizens of Chesterfield, no outsider should come into your area without knowing they are at risk of being reported as “suspicious” “suspect” and a “potential predator”.

    I am sorry that the residents “neighborhood watch” embarrassed you and the city.

    Other people besides the ones living in Chesterfield have the right to feel safe.

  • Diana Malan

    The truth is:

    A man, with permission to leave an estimate in the area, went to work and his car overheated.

    A woman walked by and asked of him…he told her that his car had overheated.

    He got his car working and left.

    Somehow the fine residents exaggerated the story to:

    There was a man at the bus stops and outside the school…watch out, we don’t know who he is..
    and in fact, the principal wrote a letter to everyone, the children were worned, the news was called, and the man’s description was plastered on the news.

    You folks were in error in SO MANY ways – your gossip could have damaged quite a few very good people’s lives.

    Why is that people hate me? Because they are embarrassed that the truth came out?

    As I stated, you folks need some training if you want to have neighborhood watches, the purpose is not to harm innocent people who are in your neighborhoods serving you.

    I am ashamed by the fact that none of you that participated can see the err of your ways.

    I am okay with whatever is said by you all, at the end of the day, I did not begin gossip that would harm a poor man because I was paranoid.
    No, that was not me…it was the “neighborhood watch” and they have publicly stated they will do it to anyone.

    That is a bit frightening.

    I am sorry that none of you want to hold yourselves accountable.

    I have nothing more to say.

    Enjoy your city.

  • Diana Malan

    I know I said I had nothing more to say, however, I do have one more thing:

    That was my family that the Neighborhood Watch tried to harm.
    No reason for their behavior.
    What if the police had not done such a fine job realizing that the gossip and texts just went out of control and the story “took legs”?

    Would my children and grandchildren be harmed because of your gossip?

    The answer is YES.

    You may think that by attempting to transfer blame to me, “everyone hates you” “outrageous statements” that somehow that makes it okay. It does not.

    The truth is:
    I told the truth

    You folks made up a story and ran with it, I have never once told you that I hate you,

    I do not want to come there, live there, do business there…not because of hate, but because it is too scairy to think that ALL somebody has to do is drive into your neighborhood and you folks will cause undo stress, potentially harm someone with gossip.

    I simply believe that you need to examine your “neighborhood watch” policies and adjust them so that you do not continue to harm other good innocent people with your “grapevine”.

    And you should not threaten “anyone” who comes into your city with “they will be suspect” as you fine folks have stated more than once.

    And just because you did not use names, and I am sure you would have had you known it, does not mean that it does not meet the definition of slander: defamation by oral utterance.

    Is it only your children you are concerned about keeping safe, because if your ficticious story had been taken seriously, and some ficticious stories are, then my 21 children and grandchildren would have been harmed, not safe at all…

    It would have been only because of “phone calls and a flurry of texting” as the police said.

  • Diana Malan

    It is hard for me to believe that “not only Chesterfield, but the whole city of St. Louis and now Ilinois” cannot see how wrong this was.

    It is hard for me to believe that “Chesterfield, St. Louis, and Illinois” would be okay with this happening to them.

    Say what you want, but it would not be okay with you all.
    If you went to work and the “grapevine” began suggesting that you are committing some kind of “suspicious” behavior and that you are such a “potential threat” that the schools send out messages and the news is called in and you are then described on the news station as “suspicious” and the plea is made that “anyone knowing who this is, please contact us”.

    And ALL you did was your everyday job that you had done for 20+ years.

    I also do not believe that “everyone” in Chesterfield, St. Louis and Illinois cannot relate – and that they believe that the “neighborhood watch” should continue being vigilant in sending the police out to investigate ficticious stories.

    I do not believe that there is not AT LEAST 1 individual that believes that neighborhood watch participants should be trained – and not allowed to cause hardship to people because of gossip.

    I understand that you want your children safe, I want them safe too. I want mine safe as well…but you need training and protocol for your neighborhood watch.

    ONE person, at least to investigate…instead of “phone calls and a flurry of texting”, you should let the police check it out prior to sending home letters and calling the news.

    You should have facts: which bus stops? At what time? Which school? What did they do? Why were they there? Did they speak to anyone? Did they linger? Did they talk to anyone? If so, what was said?

    The fine citizens of Chesterfield have suggested threats to me, suggested meds to me, called me all sorts of names…

    This does not change the fact that gossip went out of control, and apparently still is.

  • Diana Malan

    How about instead of adding insult to injury, you all say, maybe she has something there…maybe we should become trained, maybe we could become an exemplary neighborhood watch; and change this unfortunate situation that we “accidently” caused into something productive.

    Or you could keep adding insult to injury.

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