A young man from a foreign country with apparently good intentions freaked out dozens of parents in Crawford, Franklin and Gasconade Counties in the last few days.
He was selling kids books and magazines... and in an effort to keep from knocking on doors where there were no kids and no chance of a sale, he would ask people he happened upon, "Do kids live on this street?" or "Where do kids live around here?"
Not sure what kind of answers he got, but a number of people who got his question called police. In the last couple of days, Sheriff's Departments in Crawford and Franklin Counties found and talked to the guy.
They learned he's working for a reputable company out of Nashville, Tennessee and staying with a family near the Bourbon area. A church apparently set that up.
The guy, said to be in his mid-20s is from Estonia and has a very thick accent.
I talked to a parent in Crawford County who hadn't encountered him but heard about him through two other people including her daughter. She told her kids to be extra careful around strangers in the neighborhood.
When I told Jana Graddy the guy was just selling kids books and magazines and was checked out by law enforcement and said to be harmless, she was relieved.
As for his sales strategy, she said, "I didn't like it at all. There's a better way to go about it than just randomly ask which house has children in it and which one does not."
Perhaps he understands that now, too. Let's hope.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.