Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Machesney Park man charged with sexual exploitation of child

MACHESNEY PARK — A man wanted for allegedly exposing himself to a group of Girl Scouts in the parking lot of a Rockford business is in custody, officials reported Thursday.

Austin Ekberg, 21, of Machesney Park, turned himself in at the Winnebago County Justice Center Thursday. He’s been charged with sexual exploitation of a child.

On Monday, March 5, 2018, the Rockford Police Department received a report of the Sexual exploitation of a child that had occurred in the parking lot of Crimson Ridge, 735 North Perryville Road.

Officers were notified that several girls, under the age of 13, had been selling Girl Scout cookies at the time of the incident.  The girls were approached by a man driving an SUV. When the girls approached the vehicle, they noticed that the suspect had his pants pulled down and appeared to be engaged in an act of self-gratification. The girls ran back inside the business and the suspect fled the scene.

Detectives from the Sensitive Crimes Unit conducted a follow-up investigation an based on photos from surveillance video, detectives were able to identify the Ekberg, a registered sex offender.

Ekberg’s bond is set at $300,000. He’s due in court April 6. R.

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