Thursday, November 8th, 2007 at 12:41 pm in Health & Safety.
A scary coincidence has come to light today. On Tuesday, two boys — one in Orinda, another in Danville — were offered rides by strangers. Descriptions of the men differed, but the scenarios were eerily similar. In Orinda, while walking to Glorietta Elementary School, an 11-year-old was approached by a man in a white truck and told to get into the vehicle; the boy wisely ran for the nearest front porch. Later, in Danville, a boy riding his bike home from John Baldwin Elementary School was offered a ride by a man in a dark blue Ford truck. The boy ignored the man and rode off.
The family for the first boy reacted appropriately. Their son told them about the incident and immediately called the police. In the second case, the boy told his parents, who chose not to call police. Eventually, they told the school district, which notified authorities.
OK, we don’t want to sound preachy, but calling the police immediately is a MUST.
Predators such as these are not often deterred. Prevent-Abuse-Now.com notes that predators often target another child in the same area within 24 hours of the first attempted abduction. So, by not reporting an incident, a parent may put other children at risk. As Danville Police Sgt. Troy Craig told the Times: “We would like these (sorts of incidents) reported immediately, whether it’s real information or not.”
This is also a good time to have a refresher talk with our kids about not accepting rides with strangers. Taking it a step further is important. Role playing may help to be certain they know when to scream, run or seek out help. The Orinda boy is an excellent example. He perceived a threat and immediately ran to someone’s home for help.
Here’s more information about the men involved in these incidents according to the Times’ articles:
In Orinda, the man is described as white, in his 40s with blond hair and a scar on the right side of his face. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a black cap. He was driving a white truck with a lumber rack on top and damage on the driver’s side behind the door. The child described him as having a British accent. If you have any information, contact Detective Nate McCormack at 925-254-6820.
In Danville, the man is described as white, in his 20s, with dark brown or black hair, braces and a goatee. He was wearing sunglasses, a red long-sleeved shirt with a logo, blue shorts without pockets and tennis shoes. His vehicle was a dark blue Ford truck with a cracked driver’s side window. If you have any information, call the police department at 925-820-2144.
– Ann Tatko-Peterson