Richland Center Police Chief Billy Jones reports that a local man has been taken into custody after making a concerning post on social media. Chief Jones explained that law enforcement was recently made aware of a social media post that appeared to be an attempt to organize an unlawful assembly and looting of an area business. Law enforcement responded with an increased presence in the area and the business took special measures to ensure the safety of its employees and the building. No disturbance ended up transpiring, although some parties did show up claiming to be there just to watch what was going to happen. Ultimately those parties left the area without incident. As a result of the subsequent investigation, a 17 year old was taken into custody for Unlawful Use of a Computerized Communication Systems, a class B misdemeanor.
Chief Jones stated that, although the comments made on social media were relatively vague, the Richland Center Police Department takes any such comments as serious potential threats to the public’s safety and property, especially in light of the current heightened tensions across the country. Jones added that this person’s comments not only cost the taxpayers due to the needed increase in police presence, they also cost the business who took measures to further secure their building, and its employees who were sent home for their own safety.
Chief Jones also noted that the Richland Center Police Department was aided greatly in this investigation by several area citizens who called and made the Police Department aware of the situation. Chief Jones stated that the vigilance of these citizens allowed the Police Department to be proactive and prevent a dangerous situation from starting.
Any citizen who has information concerning any illegal activity is encouraged to call the Richland Center Police Department at 608-647-2103 or the Richland County Sheriff’s Department at 608-647-2016. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Richland Area Crime Stoppers at 647-CLUE (2583) and may be eligible for a cash reward.