ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The man police say took photos of women getting undressed in a local department store dressing room among other serious offenses has been in trouble with the law before. The suspect who investigators say was found wandering inside Flinn Middle School last month is a convicted felon.
We spoke with a Stateline mom who says the suspect attempted to abduct her daughter more than 2 decades ago.
Bert Cromwell says it was like living a nightmare a second time when she heard Todd Swanson was out on the streets and arrested again. That’s because Cromwell says 20 years ago, he tried to kidnap her daughter as she walked home from School.
Cromwell says her daughter Shannon didn’t usually walk home from St. Peter’s school, but she did one afternoon in the fall in 1994. Police told Cromwell that afternoon that Swanson was dressed in drag and attempted to take Shannon near the intersection of Camp Avenue and Sherman. He supposedly had emptied a leaf bag and had it ready to take the girl. Bert Cromwell was at work when police called and told her to come home.
Swanson was charged with attempting to abduct another child in 1996. A jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 2 and a half years in prison. He’s back behind bars now after he allegedly was dressed in drag inside the women’s locker room at Peak Fitness. He’s also accused of taking pictures of women inside the dressing room at Bergner’s in Machesney Park.
Swanson was caught in January walking around Flinn Middle School. He was escorted from the building. The school district says parents were not told because he did not come in contact with any kids. The school did file a police report. One of the charges he faces is Criminal Trespass for being in the school, which is a misdemeanor and he could spend a year in the county jail if found guilty.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A man involved in several events which alarmed citizens has been arrested on disorderly conduct charges.
Police say 47-year-old Todd Swanson allegedly harassed women while dressed in drag in the area of the 1300 block of South Alpine Road on January 16, 2014. He was said to be seen driving a red pickup.
On the same day, police say a man, later believed to be Swanson was located inside Flinn Middle School by a teacher. He told a teacher he was there looking for his daughter, which turned out to be false and was then escorted out of the building by staff. According to the school, the reason parents in the school community were not notified about the man is because he had no contact or interaction with students. You can find school's full release in the related documents section.
On January 20, 2014 another woman reported an encounter with Swanson in the 500 block of South Perryville and then again in the 6500 block of East State Street.
A warrant was obtained for him for Criminal Trespass to the School and Disorderly Conduct for the other incidents. He was arrested at his home on January 24, 2014 and lodged in jail but later bonded out.
On February 4th 2014 two customers contacted the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department to report that a man was taking pictures of them while they were in the dressing room inside the Bergner’s Department Store in the Machesney Park Mall. The description of the man and the red pickup truck matched that of Todd Swanson.
On February 11, 2014 staff at Peak Fitness reported that a man matching Swanson’s description and dressed in drag was located in the women’s locker room. He was escorted out of the facility. Staff reported to police that this was third time since January 6th that he was located in facility and asked to leave.
Rockford Police Detectives again obtained warrants for Swanson for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
On February 14th, Swanson was located at this residence and lodged in jail.