Reporting Mai Martinez
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BARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) – Two 13-year-old suburban girls are being credited with helping police catch a man who offered them a ride home.
Barrington police say the teens were alarmed and disturbed by the offer and took down the man’s license plate. But as CBS 2′s Mai Martinez reports, the man says he was only trying to help the girls, not harm them.
“This is a good deed gone wrong,” Rodney Peterson says.
During a March 2 snowstorm, he saw two teen girls leave a Shell station while he was pumping gas.
“I just noticed these girls, that they had no umbrella, no coats or hood or something of that nature and I just felt like I should help,” Peterson says.
When he drove off, he saw them a short distance away on Prospect Avenue near Waverly.
“I just pulled up and said ‘How far do you have to walk?’ And one of the girls just replied, ‘We’re OK,’ and waved me on.”
Peterson says he drove off and thought nothing of it until Barrington police showed up at his home three days later.
The married father of three, who has a fourth child due in June, listened in disbelief as police told him the girls reported the encounter and he was being charged with disorderly conduct.
His explanation did not assuage the police. Peterson’s wife of nearly 12 years can’t believe it.
“It really was a good deed, just misinterpreted,” she says.
Despite his being charged, the Petersons don’t blame the girls, their families or even police for following up.
“The question comes into why I was charged,” Rodney Peterson says.
Peterson is due in court on Monday. He’s facing a maximum $750 fine.
Barrington’s police chief said the girls in this case were “alarmed and disturbed” by Peterson’s actions. He said the right thing to do in a situation like that is to call police and tell them that the teens need a ride.