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Shelby County mom says stranger took pictures of her kids at park

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- A concerned parent is trying to spread awareness after she says a strange man was taking pictures of children playing.

It happened over the weekend at Shelby Farms Park.

The woman, who asked us not to use her name, said a day at the park turned questionable when she noticed she wasn't the only one watching her kids play on the swings.

"I kind of looked back at him and I heard his phone go off, you know the noise it makes when you take a picture," she said.

She said the camera was pointed at her kids and that he quickly put the phone away and went to a different part of the park.

Her parental instincts kicked in; she told her husband what happened and he went to confront the man.

He told the man to delete the photo of their daughter.

"The guy let him delete it, but there were also other pictures of other children on there," she said.

They asked people nearby if they knew him and said it seemed he was there alone.

"It was very frightening, very, very frightening."

Sheriff's deputies say they recommend taking pictures of suspicious people if possible but say confrontation can be a risky approach.

"That can be a very dangerous thing to do," said Earle Farrell with SCSO. "We always recommend people to call the authorities."

Park spokespeople say they have park attendants, rangers and deputies nearby and say some responded to the report of this man on Monday.

They say the man had grandchildren on the playground, and they determined he wasn't a threat.

But the mother involved says it's still something that raises concern, and she hopes her story will help others stay alert.

Authorities say she did the right thing by calling them.

"Stay with your kids," said Farrell. "If you're at a playground area, don't let them wander off away from you, and always be observant of what's going on around you."

Shelby Farms Park spokespeople also say they're always open to hearing about any security concerns.