Police have been keeping a closer eye on several neighborhoods in southeast Carmel after receiving reports of an unknown man in a white Tesla interacting suspiciously with children playing outdoors Jan. 27 and speeding through the area.
Tim Bowman, who lives in Briar Lane Estates, is thankful he happened to be looking out the window when he saw his 7- and 10-year-old sons approached by the man in the Tesla, which had stopped at the curb outside his home.
He saw his son throw his football to the man in the car and then shake his head no three times before the man threw the football back and sped off.
After Bowman rushed outside, the boys told him that the man had requested to see the football before asking if they’d be in a photo with him. When the 10-year-old refused, he asked him to send the little brother over, which he also refused. He also asked for their names, the boys said, but they did not provide them.
As Bowman prepared to get in his car to attempt to locate the Tesla, the family saw it drive past again, this time at a high rate of speed. Bowman estimates it was traveling 70 mph. He described the driver as a Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s.
Lt. Tim Byrne of the Carmel Police Dept. confirmed that officers received multiple reports regarding an individual in a white Tesla acting suspicious in the area. He said these types of reports are not common in Carmel and that police always take them seriously, even though most times “they turn out to be nothing.”
“Many times, when we’re able to locate the suspicious individual, we learn they’re either there for a legitimate reason and/or there was some sort of misunderstanding,” Byrne said. “Again, we never assume that’s the case when an incident like this is reported. We always err on the side of caution and safety for the kids involved because occasionally they do turn out to be legitimate complaints.”
Byrne said police have not received reports about the Tesla beyond those reported Jan. 27 near 106th Street and Lakeshore Drive East.
Bowman said he had not seen the Tesla before the incident and has not seen it again since. But as a precaution, he’s leaving the front door “wide open” when his kids are playing outside so they can quickly rush inside if the suspicious vehicle, or another one, stops nearby again.
He encourages other parents to be aware of where their children are at all times.
“I was fortunate to be staring out the window when it happened,” he said. “Talk to your kids, create a plan, make the kids aware this could happen.”