An ice cream truck driver in upstate New York was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of following a group of young girls in his truck.
Charles A. Ross, 57, of Whitehall, is charged with felony stalking, misdemeanor stalking and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to The Post Star in Glens Falls. He is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana because officers found marijuana on him when he was arrested, the newspaper said.
South Glens Falls Police Chief Kevin Judd told The Post Star that investigators received a complaint Oct. 3 that Ross followed the girls while driving a truck belonging to Mr. Ding-a-Ling, a regional ice cream truck company based in Latham. The girls were 12 and 13 years old.
The girls told responding officers that it appeared Ross was taking photos or video of them, the newspaper said. The ice cream truck was gone by the time the officers got to the scene.
South Glens Falls investigators worked with New York state troopers to identify Ross as the man the girls saw following them, Judd said. The families of two of the girls filed official complaints.
Ross was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop, The Post Star reported. He was in his own vehicle when the stop took place.
The complaints against Ross in South Glens Falls were not the first, The Post Star reported. A similar complaint of him taking pictures of children from his truck was lodged in June in Lake George.
The newspaper reported that Warren County sheriff’s deputies watched Ross and confronted him, but no charges could be filed because taking photos in public is not a crime.
He did not follow the children in the Lake George incident.
“It appears he escalated his behavior,” Warren County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale told The Post Star.
Police officials said that investigators notified the owner of Mr. Ding-a-Ling about the allegations against Ross, but he was allowed to continue driving his truck between the June and October incidents. The Post Star reported that calls to the company seeking comment had not been returned.
Mr. Ding-a-Ling was established in 1975 and has grown from one truck to 66 trucks, the company’s website says. The trucks operate from New York to Maine and Vermont.
The operator of Mr. Ding-a-Ling of the Adirondacks wrote in a post Thursday on Facebook that Ross was in no way affiliated with his truck.
“Just wanted to let everyone know that has nothing to do with our truck here,” the post read. “I’m so mad about the driver there tarnishing our brand.”
He wrote that “bad apples” pop up in businesses everywhere, but that he wanted to reassure his customers.
“Most of my customers are like family and friends,” the post read.
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