URBANA — An Urbana man arrested over the weekend for yelling at middle-school aged children is now in custody on charges of child abduction.
Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said Nathan J. Ross, 31, who listed an address in the 1200 block of Cole Place, was arrested again Tuesday night for an incident that happened about 8:20 a.m. Sunday. That morning, an officer was flagged down by two boys and a girl who reported a man tried to get them to get in his truck.
Morgan said the boys, aged 11, and the girl, 13, were near Philo and Colorado Sunday morning when they were approached by a man driving a black truck who asked them if they wanted a ride.
"They declined and he asked them again and followed along. He said, 'Get in the back, I know where you live. I can take you home.' It devolved into the boys yelling at him and calling him names and him yelling back at them and calling them names," said Morgan, who added that Ross has been diagnosed with mental problems.
Morgan said one of the boys threatened to beat Ross if he got out of his truck. Ross, who has prior drug-related convictions in Champaign County, told police that he heard voices that told him he needed to give people rides.
Ross was arrested Sunday for disorderly conduct, posted bond for the misdemeanor offense and was released from jail. He was told to be back in court Monday.
Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said his office filed the more serious Class 4 felony child abduction charges against Ross Monday. When Ross failed to show up for court Monday, Judge Richard Klaus issued a warrant for his arrest. He was arrested Tuesday night and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.
In late September, Champaign police received nine reports of children being approached by different men in vehicles; Urbana had one on Aug. 31 and another Oct. 4. Only one of those incidents in Champaign resulted in an arrest.
Morgan said Ross does not fit the description of the suspects in the two Urbana reports. He is conferring with Champaign police on their cases to see if there is any relation.