Second report of van driver trying to pick up child

Second report of van driver trying to pick up child

THOMASTON, Maine (Village Soup) — Thomaston police are investigating a second incident this week in which a person in a white van tried to entice a child to get into a vehicle.

The superintendent of the Rockland area school district issued a letter Wednesday in response to the incidents.

Thomaston Police Chief Tim Hoppe said that the middle school student was riding his bicycle to school Wednesday morning, Sept. 20 and was near F & A Market when the van stopped and an older man asked him to get in the vehicle.

The child reported it to his mother, Hoppe said, but she did not contact police.

The mother posted the incident on Facebook. Police contacted her and spoke to the student at Oceanside Middle School after being alerted to the incident by the Courier-Gazette which had read the post.

Hoppe urged the public to report such incidents to police as soon as possible.

This incident was the second this week reported to police.

On Monday, at about 3 p.m. a white van with three men stopped and asked a young girl walking home on Ash Point Drive in Owls Head to get in the vehicle. The child ran into the woods and then to her home where her parents reported the incident to police.

Knox County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said Tuesday that police encourage parents to talk to their kids and discuss the dangers of things that can happen.

For children, he recommended that when they are alone they should not get too close to any stranger.

"Be alert to your surroundings and people approaching you when you're alone,  and scream, yell, make some commotion if at any time you feel threatened by a stranger's approach," Carroll said. "Draw attention to yourself the best you can, and get to an adult that you trust and report what you observed immediately to the police."

Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald issued a statement Sept. 20.

"Our administrators and staff are also on alert, and are being watchful for any suspicious activity around our schools during the school day. This is an opportunity to speak with your children about safety. In both of these cases, the children did the right things. They refused to go with the stranger, they left the area immediately, and the told adults. I encourage you to have this conversation with your children. As always, safety for your children at school is our top priority, and I want to assure the public that we are working with our very professional and supportive police departments to increase vigilance and awareness at all of our school locations," McDonald said.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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