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Lost man shamed as 'creeper' on Facebook, police come to rescue

A man stopped for directions and was unknowingly photographed and shamed on Facebook.
Roger and Big Lake Police

Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf with Roger, the victim in the story. 

The Big Lake Police Department has come to the defense of an innocent man who was wrongly shamed on social media. 

It's unclear who shamed the man on Facebook, but Big Lake PD says the post was submitted Wednesday by someone who thought a man was driving through a neighborhood and taking pictures of homes and children.

"This creeper man was taking pics of houses on Fair Meadow Drive," the post says. "But what irritated [SIC] me is when he rolled down the window to clearly take a pic of my son and neighbor boy at their bus stop. I'm not OK with that! Be on the look out!"

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Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf didn't learn about the Facebook post until later in the day, noting that "I was tagged to it several times." Once he found out about it, Scharf had an officer run the license plates from the truck in the photo. 

"What we found out, was this was an older gentleman known to us, who was looking for an address. He had pulled over, rightfully so, to use his cell phone to call for directions," said Scharf. 

The online shaming brought the man to tears when he spoke with police Thursday morning, with Scharft noting that the man has been called names in several places in the community, "most of those including 'pervert.'" 

The man, identified as Roger, told KARE 11 that he has lived in Big Lake since 1970 and he was on his way to his son's house to help out with a broken down truck. He said he took a turn one block too early because he was unfamiliar with the area that his son recently moved to. 

Scharf called Facebook an "incredibly powerful tool" but said "Facebook is not a replacement for contacting law enforcement when suspicious activities are observed." 

"Had the person who observed this activity reported it to us, we could have dealt with it in a very short amount of time. So please, if you see suspicious activity, call the police department and let us do the investigating," Scharf added. 

"If there is a concern, we will post it, and be transparent about it. Rather, you have an older gentleman devastated in his own hometown."

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