Sioux Falls police say a recent incident involving a man and a young girl has gone from ominous to nothing more than an innocent misunderstanding.

"It actually began Sunday afternoon. We had a man that approached a girl and asked if she could help find his Gerbil," explained Sioux Falls Police Department Public Information Officer Sam Clemens.

The 11 year old girl did what she was supposed to do when approached by a stranger. She ran home and told her mother, who contacted police.

"We were able to get some surveillance video and saw the vehicle that this man drove. We put that out in the media and we got a lot of tips. That led up to us finding the driver."

It was at that point that things took a decidedly different turn. The man wasn't looking for his small furry rodent, but rather a person.

"It turns out he was looking for somebody that lives in the area who had a similar sounding last name [to gerbil]. It's nothing as bad as everybody was thinking. Just sounds like he was looking for directions to find where this person lives."

Clemens says all reports of suspicious activity are investigated regardless of the outcome.

"We have to take these on really face value and look into it. We don't know if it's going to be anything criminal or serious. Se have to investigate these reports and that's what we do."

Another important lesson in making sure all the facts are in before jumping to any conclusions.


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