Greensboro police receive another report of suspicious activity near a school bus stop, offer safety tips
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A juvenile female student reported another incident of suspicious activity near a school bus stop Wednesday morning.
At about 7:30 a.m. the student was walking towards her bus stop at the corner of Vandalia Road and Pepperstone Drive when she heard a vehicle horn. She saw a newer model burgundy cargo van drive past her travelling in a northeasterly direction on Vandalia Road. The van then made a U-turn and stopped when it was beside the student.
The juvenile reports that the driver rolled down the passenger-side window, leaned over, and asked her if she wanted some candy. The girl then fled to a safe place and told an adult what happened.
This marks the fourth incident of suspicious behavior near school bus stops since December 2014. In the previous incidents, male drivers offered rides to young females. In each instance, the students refused the offer, and the drivers left the area. The students then reported the incidents to trusted adults.
The description of the vehicle and driver in Wednesday’s incident are not similar to previous reports. The van is described as a newer model burgundy cargo (possibly panel) van. The front windows were tinted and the back windows were either panels or painted to match the van body. The van did not have company logos on it.
The driver is described as a Hispanic male with a slight accent. He may be in his 30s. He has short black hair and a moustache. He had black sunglasses on his the top of his head and was wearing gray overalls.
Detectives from the Greensboro Police Department and School Resource Officers are investigating.
Police remind parents that stranger abductions are fairly rare. Nationally about 25 percent of child abductions are by strangers: most children are taken by family members or acquaintances.
However, parents should have open and frequent conversations with their children about strangers.
Here’s how to get the conversation started:
Tell your children that a stranger is any adult they do not know. Teach your children not to go anywhere with a stranger, and never get in a car with someone they don’t know. Kidnappers can lure children by seeming to be nice, or by asking them for directions or asking for help..
Practice safety drills. Show your children how to run away and scream if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car. If a stranger attempts to talk to or grab your children, your children should know to shout, “No!” or “Fire!” or “I don’t know you!” Rehearse screaming at strangers by role-playing.
Teach your children that schools, stores, libraries and restaurants are all safe public places they can run to if they feel unsafe.
There are times, however, when your child may need the help of an adult they don’t know. Explain to them that police officers, store clerks, teachers, people who are behind desks in office buildings, mail-carriers and mothers with children are generally safe strangers. Let your kids know that they can trust these strangers if they ever need help and they cannot locate an adult they recognize.
Some kidnappers are savvy and may address your child by name in attempt to gain their trust. Practice a secret code word with your children. Choose a word that would not be easy for a stranger to guess. Use this code word when another adult is required to transport your child. If a stranger knows your child’s name, but does not mention the code word, that stranger is probably a threat. Tell your kids they should never get into a car with someone who does not know the code word.