News 12 at 6:00, May 23, 2007
AUGUSTA, GA--South Augusta families say a man tried to take their young children from their own neighborhood. They say the kidnapping attempts happened in the 3900 block of Ellen Street on Monday, and then again on Tuesday.
Investigators say the key to protecting your children is making sure they know what to do. These children did, and managed to get away from a man who tried to lure them into his jeep.
It was four twenty Monday afternoon, and a man drove up to a school bus stop, rolled down the window, and told Priscilla Griffin's two young daughters to get in.
"They didn't know him, so they ran in the house and came and got me." She said.
She noticed a white jeep parked up the street, and she says it came back the next day. This time, her daughters, and her neighbor's son, were playing in her front yard.
"The children told me he said hey, 'little boy, little boy, come here.' " Said neighbor Tarteria Bennings.
Her four-year-old son, Michael, responded like this: "The man wanted me to talk with him, and I said no." He said.
Michael ran inside to tell his mother what happened. The sheriff's department says that is exactly what he should have done.
"We encourage the child to get as quickly as possible away from the danger area and go to an adult or safe place." Said Sergeant Richard Roundtree.
He says younger children are sometimes too trusting, and it's important to teach kids that some strangers can hurt them. Tarteria Bennings says that could happen here: "I just don't know what's going on with this neighborhood!"
"You never know what's going to happen with your kids." Said Priscilla Griffin.
The white jeep took off before those mothers could figure out who it was.
They know it's a white jeep with a Gerald Jones Honda paper tag.
To protect your kids, investigators say you should develop a safety plan, and tell your kids what to do and who to call in case something like this happens to them.
Update May 25, 2007: Richmond County deputies tell News 12 that a man seen driving in a neighborhood never attempted to kidnap two young children.
Deputies tell us they got a report of suspicious activity while the man was driving on Ellen Street, but after investigating, found no reason to believe the man was trying to kidnap a child.
It turns out the man was visiting a work supervisor who lives in the area.