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Art Williams, 82, of Tillsonburg, faces numerous charges in the bizarre case

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Art Williams

Art Williams

WOODSTOCK - 

An Oxford County senior citizen is charged with threatening police and offering “deceptive” information during his arrest in a Florida child-luring probe, officials there say.

Art Williams, 82, of Tillsonburg, faces a raft of charges in the bizarre case, including attempting to lure or entice a child under the age of 12, aggravated stalking with credible perceived threat, providing false information to police, providing a false report of threatening to bomb, as well as loitering, prowling and trespassing.

According to an affidavit by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office posted on the Jackson County, Fla., online court records website, an officer alleges a man wanted in the probe tried to confuse him while being read his rights. He also made “off-the-wall comments” and provided “deceptive responses” while trying to interrupt him.

A representative at the Jackson County clerk’s office told Postmedia they “assumed” the affidavit had been sworn in front of a notary before it reached their office.

The suspect, according to the affidavit, said he had been to the boy’s home because he was in the real estate business and was interested in buying a home.

He denied ever being at a bus stop or attempting contact with the child, even though the officer hadn’t mentioned a child or anything else specific to the investigation. Police said he continued to fabricate responses, made comments that didn’t make sense in reference to his activities in Florida and made veiled threats, including telling an officer that in a situation like this, police need to “walk away from it.”

The incident began Oct. 18, when police were called to a home by the mother of a nine-year-old boy.

According to the police report, the mother said she called police after her fiance asked a stranger in a burgundy car parked behind their house to leave because they believed he had been trying to lure the boy into his car.

She said her son’s expression changed after he saw the car. The boy told his mother that he had spotted the car previously at a bus stop and several times driving by the house, with the man motioning for him to come to the car.

The man was described as balding, older looking and small-framed with red hair.

State troopers then tracked the man by the licence plate number provided by the mother. In an initially unrelated call, the vehicle was found going the wrong way on a highway. A state trooper met the suspect “nose-to-nose” while the suspect was travelling westbound, the wrong way, on an eastbound ramp.

That prompted the run-in with officers. Police say they’re still investigating whether internet or video-game chats led the to the man’s efforts to meet with the boy.

Williams was to make his first appearance Monday.

HRivers@postmedia.com