Editorial Note: This is more of a warning or a public announcement than a story. There has been little solid evidence, but it is an account of similar incidents with people attempting to lure both boys and girls into their cars. So this is more of a reminder for parents and grandparents to talk to your children about strangers and how to handle the situation if someone approaches them.
Last month, Dec. 15, a man was caught on Ring cameras in a neighborhood off of Alvarado Street.. According to a 15-year-old young man who was walking his dog, the man pulled onto the sidewalk in front of him and told him to get in the Jeep.
Video and cameras show a bronze colored Jeep quickly pulling a U-turn in front of the boy and driving up onto the sidewalk in front of him. Concern was expressed by his mother and the neighbor, after seeing the older man with longish gray hair, right next to the student on the sidewalk for several seconds.
According to the young man, the driver of the Jeep pulled up and told him to open the door and "get in."
Her son reported that he refused and kept walking his dog. The Jeep pulled away and apparently hasn't been seen since the incident.
On Oct. 18, another incident happened in front of Live Oak Park School. An 8-year-old student was waiting in the bus area for a ride, surrounded by other students. A man in the parking lot motioned for the student to "come here." The student looked around, confused, and pointed to himself and said to the man, "Me?" The man nodded "yes" and again motioned for him to "come here." The student said, "No," and walked over to his 9-year-old brother. When he turned around to show his brother, the man was gone. They both went to a teacher, who reported the incident to the school. Apparently the sheriff came out but there was no report taken, as no crime had happened. The man, according to the 8-year-old student, was a white guy with black hair, a baseball cap and sunglasses.
According to a FUESD school bus driver, another incident apparently happened a few months ago on Alturas, when a school bus driver saw a person in a car try to lure in a student. It has been reported that a partial plate was taken, but there have been no further incidents that the Village News has been able to find.
A fourth incident was reported after an older white man with gray hair was admiring a young girl in a local restaurant, maybe 10 years old. According to AC Investigations, who was notified by the family, the man asked if the young girl was "for sale."
Tony Campbell from AC Investigations, after receiving the phone call, was able to go to the location where the incident took place in Fallbrook, check video cameras, and get a picture of the suspect. After matching it with the Megan's Law database, Campbell reported that law enforcement followed up, questioning the restaurant employees and visiting a possible suspect's residence.
No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.
Campbell offered this advice:
1. Educate children, teaching them about personal boundaries, the importance of privacy, how to recognize inappropriate behavior, and to not feel obligated to talk to strangers (men or women) who may pull up beside them. Should they run the opposite direction? Scream? Discuss these things openly.
2. Encourage young people to travel and walk in groups if possible.
3. Communication: Maintain open communication with your child. Encourage them to share any concerns or uncomfortable experiences.
4. Monitor online activity: Keep an eye on your child's online presence, including social media and messaging apps. Set clear rules and discuss potential dangers.
5. Privacy settings: Ensure that your child's devices and social media accounts have appropriate privacy settings to limit access from strangers. Never share personal information, including location with strangers online.
6. Be aware of friends: Know your child's friends and their families. Be cautious if they suddenly withdraw from social activities or display concerning behavior.
7. Develop a safety plan: Discuss what to do in uncomfortable situations and establish a code word or signal to indicate they need help without alerting others.
8. Report suspicious behavior: If you encounter any concerning behavior, report it to the appropriate authorities immediately. Child safety is everyone's responsibility.
Megan's Law website: https://meganslaw.ca.gov/Mobile/Default.aspx