The Bryan and College Station Police Departments are investigating two incidents where a man attempted to lure a child into his vehicle.
Police say both cases involved a white man with scruffy facial hair driving a light-colored 4-door vehicle. In both cases, the child fled into their home and was unharmed.
On May 11 between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., a white man of unknown age in a white 4-door vehicle attempted to lure a child into his vehicle in the area of Brook Lane and Eagle Pass Street in Bryan.
Three days later between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., a white 30 to 40-year-old man with gray hair in a silver or gray 4-door vehicle attempted to lure a child into his vehicle near the intersection of Gilchrist and Ashburn Avenues in College Station.
Both the Bryan and College Station Police Department are urging parents to teach their children about stranger safety, particularly to tell them:
- Never accept candy or gifts from a stranger.
- Never go anywhere with anyone without parent permission, even if it sounds like fun. Predators can lure kids with questions like "Can you help me find my lost puppy?" or "Do you want to see some cute kittens in my car?" Remind your kids that adults they don't know should never ask them to help or to do things for them.
- Run away and scream if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car.
- Say no to anyone who tries to make them do something you've said is wrong or touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Always tell you or another trusted adult if a stranger asks personal questions, exposes himself or herself, or otherwise makes them feel uneasy. Reassure kids that it's OK to tell you even if the person made them promise not to or threatened them in some way.
- Always ask permission from a parent to leave the house, yard, or play area or to go into someone's home.
Eighty three percent of children who escaped their would-be abductors did something proactive, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They walked or ran away, yelled, kicked or pulled away. The departments say the best thing a child can do if someone tries to abduct them is to take action instead of being passive or polite.
Parents should also:
- Make sure younger kids know their names, address, phone number including area code, and who to call in case of an emergency. Review how to use 911 or a local emergency number. Discuss what to do if they get lost in a public place or store — most places have emergency procedures for handling lost kids. Remind them that they should never go to the parking lot to look for you. Instruct kids to ask a cashier for help or stand near the registers or front of the building away from the doors.
- Point out the homes of friends around the neighborhood where your kids can go in case of trouble.
- Be sure your kids know whose cars they may ride in and whose they may not. Teach them to move away from any car that pulls up beside them and is driven by a stranger, even if that person looks lost or confused. Develop code words for caregivers other than mom or dad, and remind your kids never to tell anyone the code word. Teach them not to ride with anyone they don't know or with anyone who doesn't know the code word.
- If your kids are old enough to stay home alone, make sure they keep the door locked and never tell anyone who knocks or calls they are home alone.
If you see anything suspicious, please report it to the authorities. In any emergency, call 911. When you see suspicious activity, please immediately contact:
- (979) 764-3600 for the College Station Police Department
- (979) 845-2345 for the Texas A&M University Police Department
- (979) 361-3888 for the Bryan Police Department or Brazos County Sheriff’s Office