A teenage girl standing at her bus stop this past week in Wonder Lake noticed a stranger driving by in a black car three days in a row.
Something about the man seemed suspicious to the girl, and she relayed her observations to a school official at McHenry West High School, according to a press release issued by McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren.
After receiving information Thursday afternoon, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office initiated a proactive patrol in the area of Wonder Lake Road and Ash Street in unincorporated Wonder Lake, where the sightings had occured.
At about 6:45 a.m. Sept. 7, sheriff's deputies saw the suspicious car, a black 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, and stopped the driver because the car had expired Ilinois registration.
The driver of the car, Joseph L. Perkins, 41, 7418 Boston Rd., Wonder Lake, is a registered sex offender from Robbins, Ill., the press release stated.
Perkins told the deputies he has lived and worked in McHenry County since January. Further investigation revealed that Perkins has never contacted the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, or his previous local police authority of his address changes.
Failure to notify a change of address for residence and work are a direct violation of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act, the sheriff's office said. Sheriff police credit the young girl for relating the information to authorities.
“The arrest and identification of this suspicious vehicle is a direct result of a juvenile listening to her instincts," said Undersheriff Andrew Zinke. "If it was not for her coming forward, the community would not know that Perkins is residing in the area. We are grateful for her assistance.”
Perkins was arrested Friday and charged with one count of unlawful violation of sex offender registration act and one count of driving with a suspended drivers license, the sheriff's office stated.
Perkins was transported to the McHenry County Correctional Facility, where he awaits bond and a court date.
The public is encouraged to notify local police, or the Sheriff’s Office at 815-338-2144 if they observe suspicious activity. Parents and caretakers are also encouraged to talk to their children about strangers, suspicious people, and where nearby safe locations are available.