January 16, 2013 - 10:40 AM
Parents are keeping a closer eye on their children after two attempted abductions in Penticton, with the most recent occurring over the weekend.
A mother of one of the children approached as they made their way back along Hatfield Road after tobogganing at Columbia Elementary School Sunday called police and posted a warning on her Facebook page for other parents.
"The more people who know the better," she stated. "I want these idiots caught! It's our job to keep ALL children safe!"
She says the two children noticed a truck circling the area and because they were aware of their environment they reacted appropriately as events unfolded.
"They managed to get away, the man had gotten out of the truck and tried approaching both of them. But the kids ran off….. The man had a black jacket on, dark spiked hair, slender, average height…. Lady was older (driver) shoulder length dark hair. I'm notifying the school tomorrow morning!" she writes.
"I phoned the police immediately, with(in) minutes there was 7 cruisers out searching for this vehicle….. I was very upset, but extremely proud of the boys and how they handled the situation!"
She described the vehicle as a brown Ford truck and says the children are safe, but scared.
Police are investigating and Crime Stoppers is looking for information. A press release today from Crime Stoppers states there was more than one attempt to pick up youths in the vicinity of schools over the past month by unknown persons. It says the description of the vehicle involved is an older brown Ford truck with the word Ford outlined in white on the tailgate. Another truck from a previous incident was described as grey.
Crime Stoppers says there was a male and a female involved in two separate incidents where youths were either asked or told to get in the vehicle.
The police and Crime Stoppers want to remind youth not to accept rides from anyone they don't know for any reason and to immediately get out of the area and report an incident to Police or their parents.
The missingkids.ca website has tips for families to help protect children from stranger abduction. They say:
Children must have parental permission before going places.
There's safety in numbers—always travel with a buddy.
Teach active resistance skills—shouting, kicking, biting or screaming if someone other than a parent or guardian attempts to take them elsewhere.
Older children can be taught to trust their instincts; that feeling inside them that warns them of danger.
Instruct children that if someone makes them feel uncomfortable they should talk to a parent or trusted adult.
Assertiveness is necessary in an abduction situation.
Practice scenarios with children so they'll be prepared.
Rides to and from events must be organized in advance.
Always be available when children are out in case they need to contact you.
If old enough to be home alone, children should understand safety strategies such as keeping doors locked, not telling anyone they are alone and knowing emergency contact numbers.
Insist on communication. Have children call or text when they arrive at a location or when they're returning.
Teach them to be aware of what's happening around them.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or www.southokanagancrimestoppers.ca. Information leading to arrest may qualify for up to $2,000.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013