ROCHESTER, Minn. - There's a viral social media post warning parents that children are at a higher risk of being abducted by traffickers wearing masks since they say the suspects can't easily be identified.
However, the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department says that's not necessarily the case. Deputies say solving a child sex trafficking crime when the suspect is wearing a mask is similar to investigating bank robberies when the suspect is often wearing a face covering as well.
The department says while a mask can offer some extra coverage there are more identifying features such as their hair, height, clothing, and voice as well as the car they drive and the direction they takeoff in.
Most of that information can be found by viewing surveillance footage which is much more common these days.
Capt. Scott Behrns explained, "In this day and age there's almost video everywhere, almost, so that's a big part of it too. So, we can get a lot of things from video, we can get a lot of things from witnesses."
Behrns says parents can also help by teaching their kids to be more mindful of who and what is around them.
He added, "Be mindful of where they're at and how you get a hold of them. In this day and age a lot of kids, depending on the age, have phones that are paid for by mom and dad and parents need to remember they're paying for that phone and that means that mom and dad can get into the phone. Track that phone."
The department says deputies don't want to take away from parent's concerns but Behrns doesn't want anyone to get caught up in misinformation online.