Victoria police say an attempted child luring incident Wednesday is likely not linked to three similar incidents in the last two months.
Detectives are investigating after a 10-year-old girl reported being approached by a man who asked her for help and that she go with him to his van, parked across the street.
The girl had been walking to school at George Jay elementary, located at 1118 Princess Ave.
Instead of going with the man, she ran to a nearby family member.
School staff were immediately notified and police were called at just after 9 a.m. Victoria police are calling the incident an attempted child abduction.
It is the fourth report of a suspected child luring at an elementary school in recent months. Although police don’t believe this latest case is connected to three incidents at Oaklands elementary school, parents should remain vigilant.
“Parents have a right to be concerned,” said Const. Mike Russell. “I think it’s important they take a lot of steps with their children, discussing safety tactics, discussing how to go to and from school (and summer programs).”
Police patrols were stepped up during school hours at Oaklands elementary after a 10-year-old boy was allegedly asked to go with a man in exchange for money on June 5. The incident is said to have happened after school, near Oaklands, located at 2827 Belmont Ave.
In two separate incidents May 15 and 17 near Oaklands, two young girls reported they were motioned to come near a man. At the time police said there was not enough evidence to confirm or dispel whether attempted abductions had taken place.
“The Oaklands ones could be similar, because they’re similar in description, but this one (involving a George Jay student) is a marked departure from those,” said Russell.
The vehicle and suspect descriptions in Wednesday’s incident don’t match those reported by the Oaklands children, he said.
The suspect from last week is described as white, with a white beard and a blonde ponytail. He was wearing glasses, a white shirt and blue jeans and was likely a cigarette smoker.
The vehicle is described as a white or light-coloured, older model van, with noticeable writing – possibly black graffiti – on the passenger side. The van had noticeable damage around its rear licence plate.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Victoria Police Department at 250-995-7444, or make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Descriptions of suspects/vehicles:
May 15: black convertible
May 17: van
June 5: Suspect described as white male in his late 30s or early 40s, with short black hair. He was clean shaven, and wore a black shirt, blue jeans and sunglasses.
June 27: White male, with white beard and blonde ponytail. He wore glasses, a white shirt and blue jeans. The vehicle is described as white or light-coloured older van, with writing on the passenger side and damage around its rear licence plate.
Police safety tips for children:
• Children should walk in groups and with an adult
• They should walk directly to their intended destination and on well-travelled routes.
• Parents should speak to their children about what to do if they are approached by a grownup, and emphasize they are not to go anywhere without parental consent
• Children should be encouraged to immediately report any unusual event to an adult