Update, 9:40 p.m.
An Aug. 31 incident in which a man reportedly impersonated a cop and frisked some teenagers outside a local school has sparked outrage among some parents upset that school officials and police never contacted them about what happened.
But a St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 spokesman said Thursday that the district initially was unaware of what happened. He also defended the St. Charles Police Department’s handling of the incident, which occurred on a holiday weekend night in the parking lot of Davis School, 1125 S. 7th St.
“According to the Police Department, they did not call because this took place on a Saturday evening on a long holiday weekend, and because police believed they had good information” that would lead to the suspect’s arrest, District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney said Thursday afternoon. “The police did not call District 303 or Davis School so they could complete their process.
Police Chief Jim Lamkin wrote in an email late Thursday that the incident occurred in the school parking lot but that it had nothing to do with the school. “It’s just where paths crossed,” he wrote. “The people involved were teens … I would not consider them children.”
Initial media reports identified the youths as children.
Skyler Charles Petrancosta, 21, of the 500 block of Jackson Street, Genoa, was charged with felony impersonating a peace officer at 9:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at the St. Charles Police Department, 211 N. Riverside Drive. He had been arrested earlier by Genoa police executing an arrest warrant from St. Charles.
Petrancosta’s bail was set at $15,000. He posted $1,500 bond and was released pending an Oct. 10, 2013 court appearance.
Wednesday’s St. Charles Patch story on the incident, which summarized Patch’s report of the arrest and the Kane County Chronicle’s coverage, drew angry responses from residents, who posted comments both on the story and on the St. Charles Patch Facebook page.
Some parents felt the school district and police department should have informed them about what transpired.
Others reacted in fear that the incident may have had some kind of sexual motivation. But earlier this week, Police Chief Jim Lamkin told the Kane County Chronicle, “It doesn’t appear there’s any other physical provoking contact” than the pat-down search.
Police have not yet released a report on the incident because the investigation is ongoing.
The Chronicle reported Wednesday that Petrancosta approached a group of children on Aug. 31 in the school parking lot, identified himself as an undercover narcotics officer, patted them down, and then ordered them to leave.
Impersonating a police officer is a felony punishable by probation to as much as three years in prison.
Editor's note: The update at 9:40 p.m. added information provided directly from Police Chief Jim Lamkin clarifying that the youths who were patted down were teenagers.