Victoria police warn parents of man attempting to abduct children
May 6, 2010 at 12:06 a.m.
TIPS FOR PARENTS Encourage children to play in groups.
Tell children to never talk to strangers.
If a stranger approaches children, they should immediately flee the area and find a parent or an adult and then immediately report the incident to 911.
Parents need to explain the difference between a friend and a stranger.
If the child is waiting after school to be picked up, have a pass code. If a person does not have pass code, the child should then know to run away and seek help immediately.
Do not attempt to apprehend a suspicious person by yourself; instead, call the police and look for identifiers that could help police with their investigation.
Source: Victoria police
Police are warning parents of a man who is attempting to abduct children around Victoria.
"Yes, this happening, There is some merit to the things (parents) have been hearing," Victoria police officer Chris Guerra said Thursday. "We've been fortunate that we don't have any true victims at this point. We want to make sure that that continues to be the case."
Guerra made his comments during a news conference Thursday afternoon at the police substation to address recent reports of attempted child abductions around town.
Beginning at the end of April, Guerra said there have been four to six incidents reported of a man approaching both pre-teen girls and boys.
The man has attempted to get the children into his vehicle by offering candy, puppies, or by asking for help to look for a lost dog.
"Fortunately, in all of the instances here, the children have either been cognizant enough to run away and flee the area or an adult has come out the house, at which point the suspect left the scene," Guerra said.
Guerra said the incidents have been happening both during the daytime and nighttime all over the city, but mostly in neighborhoods.
"Since the time that I've been here, which is almost five years now, these are the first real reports of attempted abductions that are legitimate and don't involve a parent or custody issue or something like that," Guerra said. "This is an unusual occurrence."
Guerra warned residents that if they see a suspicious person to not attempt to apprehend the subject.
"It's very important they don't try to engage that person themselves," Guerra said. They can be of much more help by getting a good description of the person.
Guerra said taking notice of tattoos, haircuts, license plates and vehicle make and models will help officers.
He also encouraged residents to call the police, even if they are not sure whether someone is attempting to abduct a child.
"We would rather come out and it be nothing and be safe than somebody not call and their call could have been what prevented something terrible from happening," said Guerra.
The reported abduction attempts are still under investigation. Police did not release a description of a suspect.