WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Police Department says the Missing and Exploited Child Unit has been notified of two incidents of a suspicious nature involving adults. In one case, WPD says an adult tried coercing a child into a van.
Around 7:10 a.m. on Sept. 12, a 14-year-old boy was approached by an older man in the 9200 block of E. Harry Street. The man offered the teenager a ride.
The boy told police the man claimed to have been sent by the child’s parents. However, the 14-year-old boy did not believe the man and went home and told his parent. He did not have a vehicle description.
That same day around 6:37 p.m., an 11-year-old girl told authorities she was walking home from school and was in the 600 block of N. Terrace when she noticed a vehicle following her.
She told police a man exited the vehicle and began following her on foot.
The child told authorities the man attempted to coerce her to get into his vehicle, a black van with Texas license plates. She did not talk to the man because she felt “something was not right.” The girl quickly walked home and told her parents.
The addresses in the two cases are about five miles from each other. Police do not know if it was the same man in both cases or different men.
WPD says it wants to remind parents to talk to children about handling interactions with strangers. Police gave the following tips:
- Don’t accept rides from people you don’t know.
- Trust your instincts! If something feels off, it probably is.
- Point out safe places such as schools, police stations, fire stations, etc.
- Teach assertiveness. It’s okay to say no to an adult.
- Encourage your children to be in groups of friends.
If you have any information on suspicious activity, you can contact WPD by calling 911 or visiting one of the patrol stations. An investigation is ongoing into these reported incidents.