Misunderstanding Causes Panic

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Knoxville (WVLT) - A huge sigh of relief in west Knox County for parents who spent days worried about a stranger, believed to be preying on children.

School officials at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church were quick to release a notice after hearing concerns from parents.

It says a man that looked like Santa Claus, driving a Hummer asked children for help looking for his dog.

Police will tell you that line is a first clue of danger.

But there is some good news.

A man in the Amberleigh subdivision says he was the one driving the Hummer.

He really did lose his dog, a Mini Doberman Pincher.

And he fits the description.

We checked with Knox County deputies who have talked to the man and agree with neighbors, he had no bad intentions.

They've closed the case

Parents are relieved, but feel this is a good lesson for them and their children.

"We're just more alert now, and I think the parents are a little more cautious and a little more seeing where the kids are going, and what the kids are doing," says parent Serena Bowman.

The man agreed to go on camera, but we decided not show him because it does appear he didn't do anything wrong.

But everyone stresses, that in this case the children did the right thing, better to be safe than sorry.

Here are tips to keep your children safe:

  • Tell them never to talk to strangers.
  • If they are approached, don't get into a car, keep their distance.
  • Make lots of noise
  • Run to a safe location.

    It's also important to know what your kids are wearing. And remember to remind them about these tips every time they leave the house.

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