Nanaimo RCMP are reminding parents of risks faced by children when walking to and from school after a nine-year-old girl was approached by a man in a vehicle who asked if she wanted a ride.
The incident happened at about 9 a.m. Wednesday near Park Avenue Elementary School in Harewood.
According to police, the girl was walking to school when a red Dodge Ram pickup pulled over in front of her and stopped. The man driving the pickup spoke to her through the open passenger window and asked her to come closer. As she approached, the man got out of the truck and asked if he could give her a ride.
The girl ran back to the sidewalk and continued on to school where she reported the incident to her teacher.
The suspect was described as Caucasian and thin with short brown hair and a bushy brown beard with a reddish tip. The girl also said the pickup had a skull on the front window and ‘Fox’ branding on the driver-side rear door. The licence plate contained the letters ‘HT.’
“The young lady did a great job of removing herself from the situation and providing a timely and detailed description of the male,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
Police recommend parents discuss safety when walking with their children and suggest the following tips:
- Never accept rides from strangers.
- Establish a safe word or password to be used when someone other than a parent is picking up a child.
- Stay on sidewalks where possible and don’t go within two arms’ lengths of a vehicle.
- Run away if approached, make noise and tell an adult as soon as possible.
Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.