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Police say child did right thing when approached by minivan
POULSBO — The driver of the minivan may have tried to lure the boy into his vehicle. Or he may have wanted to ask him a question.
Either way, the 12-year-old Poulsbo boy did the right thing, police said.
The boy said a stranger tried to lure him into a minivan as he walked from his home to Poulsbo Middle School, around noon Nov. 20.
The boy’s mother said he was walking along Noll Road when a man drove past him, turned around in a cul de sac and drove by him again and “motioned for him to get in the van.” The encounter occurred a half-block from Poulsbo Elementary School.
The boy ran away from the road and through the elementary school property to the middle school, where he reported the encounter.
Deputy Police Chief Bob Wright said the boy described the man as about 20 years of age, skinny, wearing a dark-colored hat, with red symbol or letters on the front, and possibly a red or black leather coat. The boy described the minivan as being gold, yellow or tan in color.
A police officer went to the scene and interviewed the boy, and police patrolled the area.
Wright said the boy did the right thing. “He didn’t approach the driver, he took off heading right to the school. That’s exactly the right response — don’t go to the driver, the driver can contact an adult if they need to talk to you.”
Wright said the individual drove by the boy, turned onto Thistle Court, did a U-turn, came back and motioned to him. The driver’s intent could have been to lure the boy, or “it could have been a case of, ‘I have no clue where I’m at.’” Wright recommends children do what the 12-year-old did. “I have a 12-year-old and I don’t want my 12-year-old going to a stranger. And I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else.”
Superintendent Patty Page said district officials “have been involved with the police in their initial investigation,” notified the elementary school campus to “be aware,” and emailed a letter to parents.
Page echoed Wright’s recommendation that parents and children “always err on the side of caution” when approached by a stranger.
The school district sent the following letter to parents.
We would like to make you aware of an incident that occurred earlier this afternoon.
We were notified of a Poulsbo Middle School student who was walking to school on Noll Road at approximately 12:00 pm when a man in a gold/tan SUV may have attempted to lure the student to his vehicle. It is unclear whether the man in the vehicle was motioning for the student to come to the car, or cross in front of the car.
School officials immediately notified Poulsbo Police who investigated the matter. If further information becomes available we will communicate that to parents.
We would like to remind parents to have conversations with their students regarding safety tips. The student in this case acted wisely and appropriately by not approaching the vehicle, walking away, and immediately reporting the incident to an adult.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Your child’s safety is our top priority."