SOUTH GLENS FALLS — A Whitehall man who was the subject of complaints for following and photographing girls while operating a Mr. Ding-a-Ling ice cream truck was arrested Tuesday on a felony stalking charge and three misdemeanors, police said.
Charles A. Ross, 57, of county Route 12, was charged after an investigation into a complaint earlier this month that he followed a group of girls near Oliver Winch Middle School while driving his ice cream truck on Oct. 3, according to South Glens Falls Police Chief Kevin Judd.
The girls, ages 12 and 13, believed he was taking photos or videos of them as they walked, and police were called but the driver had left the area before officers could locate him.
South Glens Falls Police worked with State Police and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office to identify him, and the families of two girls filed complaints with police about his actions, police said.
While taking pictures or videos of people in public places is not illegal, Ross’ conduct rose to the level of stalking because he followed the children, South Glens Falls Police Patrolman David Gifford said. And because the victims were under 14, the stalking charge rose to a felony, he said.
Police said Ross knew police were seeking him, and he did not respond to inquiries from them. South Glens Falls Police got a warrant for his arrest, and State Police arrested him during a traffic stop in Fort Ann on Tuesday afternoon. He was not driving an ice cream truck.
Gifford said Ross has not explained his actions, but police have a warrant to search his phone and computers to determine what he was doing with any pictures or photos he took.
“That part of the investigation is ongoing,” Gifford said.
In addition to the stalking charge, he was charged with felony stalking, misdemeanor stalking and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, police said. He was arraigned before Moreau Town Justice Jeff McCabe and sent to Saratoga County Jail for lack of bail. South Glens Falls Police Patrolman Phil Lindsey assisted Gifford with the case.
He was also charged with non-criminal unlawful possession of marijuana after State Police found him in possession of marijuana at the time of his arrest, records show.
Ross was also the subject of a similar complaint in Lake George in June, when he was believed to be photographing children from his ice cream truck, and Warren County sheriff’s officers watched him and confronted him but determined no charges could be filed.
Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said he was not following children in that case, so no stalking charge or other criminal charges could be brought.
“It appears he escalated his behavior,” Stockdale said.
Sheriff’s officers notified the owner of the Latham-based Mr. Ding-a-Ling franchise about the allegations, but Ross was allowed to continue to operate a company vehicle in the region. Calls to the company have not been returned.
Police said the ice cream truck driver who was the subject of complaints in South Glens Fall…