After children claimed a man attempted to lure them into a vehicle Sunday, Anna Police said the incident may not have happened as reported.
“We don’t have any information that we can corroborate from any witnesses, or the children for that matter, that would deem this as a credible threat,” Anna Police Lt. Jeff Caponera said on Wednesday.
While children were playing in a yard outside a house in Anna Sunday afternoon, a seven-year-old girl reported seeing a man, driving a dark-colored car, stop at the house. The child claimed the man offered her and a sister a ride and money. The children declined the offer, the man reportedly asked again, then drove away.
The child and the nine-year-old sister later told the mother, and the mother reported the incident to police. The seven-year-old reported the man was driving a green four-door sedan, and he had sparse grayish-white hair with some facial hair.
After police responded and gathered information, Caponera said the officers received conflicting information in the initial report.
“One child was reporting a red car, one child was reporting a green car,” Caponera said. “How those two colors don’t match up I don’t know. The description of the male subject was a little bit off on both the kids’ accounts.”
Caponera noted that merely approaching a child and offering something is not a criminal act. For it to become criminal, a substantial effort must be made to get a child into a vehicle.
“Such as luring them over to the car, the kids coming up to car and then them grabbing the kids and trying to pull them in the car — that is what we would classify as an attempt at abduction,” Caponera said.
While police are concerned about attempts to lure children into vehicles, Caponera said they want parents to educate their children on stranger danger and some of the techniques and tactics used by potential abductors.
“Also it’s important for the parents to reiterate to their kids the importance of honesty and making sure that before they report something like this, they really make sure that it was something that occurred,” Caponera said. “Don’t try to fabricate something just to get attention — not that that was what occurred in this instance, but the information that we received was so conflicting that we couldn’t put two and two together on this from the kids.”