Operation Blackout keeps kids safe from sex offenders during Halloween

Operation Blackout keeps kids safe from sex offenders during Halloween

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - In an attempt to keep children safe this Halloween, the Tennessee Department of Corrections is out in full force making sure registered sex offenders are following the rules.

At least five sex offenders are already in custody for not following the rules.

Halloween is a week-and-a-half away. Memphis police and probation and parole officers started doing checks on registered sex offenders to make sure they are in compliance.

They found several who are not.

"I saw the parole board pull up,” said neighbor James Marsh. “There's like six guys come out with vests on then they showed back up an hour or two later with about five or six squad cars."

Marsh and his wife knew something was up on North Willett when they saw all of that at their neighbor’s house and then saw Phillip Stringfellow being handcuffed on Sunday.

“I knew he was on parole,” Marsh said. “I knew he was a sex offender. He did tell us when he moved in.”

Stringfellow listed as a violent sex offender is on parole for attempted rape of a child in 2003. He was arrested Sunday in a sweep called Operation Blackout conducted by the bureau of probation and parole doing compliance checks as Halloween approaches.

Stringfellow is one of several sex offenders recently arrested after a compliance check.

Officers checked Stringfellow’s phone and found graphic nude photos of himself and a Snapchat account.

Jamarius Strickland was also picked up for sharing photos on social media, and other pictures that were found on his phone.

Police also picked up registered sex offender, Kenny Evans, also listed as violent at the North Memphis home he shares with his father.

Police found pornographic material depicting children on his phone ranging in age from 7 to 13 years old. The state puts special emphasis on sex offenders at Halloween because that is when children go door to door.

"I think it’s good reason considering all the kids walking around the neighborhood,” Marsh said.

The state offers these tips for trick or treating.

  • Go with your children  
  • If they do go out alone, make sure you know where they will be trick-or-treating 
  • Check the TBI Sex Offender Registry to know which houses to avoid

Sex offenders also have certain rules for Halloween that must be followed.

  • They have to be in their homes by 6 p.m.
  • They can’t have Halloween decorations 
  • Can’t hand out treats 
  • Have to turn their porch lights out

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