First Posted: 9/24/2013
WILKES-BARRE — City police are investigating a woman’s report that a man tried to lure her 15-year-old daughter into his car Tuesday morning near Forrest and Anthracite streets.
The mother, whose name was not released, told officers her daughter was being followed by an unknown male at about 6:45 a.m. while she was walking to GAR Memorial Junior/Senior High School on South Grant Street.
Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak said a letter was sent home to the parents of students at GAR and nearby Dodson Elementary School on Jones Street informing them about the incident. Resource officers — including district staff and police officers assigned to schools — will be increasing their presence around the area before and after school “at least until the end of the week,” Prevuznak added.
Police said the girl stated she heard a vehicle pull into a parking lot at the corner of Forrest and Anthracite, and its Hispanic driver asked if she spoke Spanish.
The girl responded that she did and expected the man was going to ask for directions, police said.
“She said the male offered her a ride, which she declined. She said the male then told her he did not want to hurt her, he just wanted to give her a ride,” according to a police report.
The girl declined again and began to walk away, but the man drove out of the lot and drove past her several times, she told police. When she reached South Sherman Street near Mayflower Park, the man parked his vehicle in the parking lot of the Assembly of God Church on Stanton Street.
She then called her mother, as the man got out of his car and began walking in the same direction as she was — first on the opposite side of the road, then crossing the street and walking behind her. The man eventually got back into his car and drove away, westbound on Stanton Street. Her mother then arrived to take her home, police said.
The victim described the man as being about 5 feet, 3 inches tall, with a thin build, clean shaven, between 30 and 40 years old, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. She said the man was driving a gray Honda, possibly a Civic, but she was unable to obtain the license plate.
Anyone with information is asked to call Wilkes-Barre police at 570-826-8106.
Prevuznak said the letter sent to families reminds students and parents to always be aware of their surroundings.
“We’ve always encouraged our students to walk to school with a friend or friends,” he said.
As well, Prevuznak noted district policy permits students to bring cellphones to and from school — as long as they remain turned off during the school day — because the devices can be vital in situations such as that reported this morning.
“We do have an incredible amount of walkers, back and forth, in all our schools, and (phones) have become a valuable security tool for families,” he said.