Mounties are looking for a man they say tried to lure a girl into a cream coloured SUV with the promise of balloons.
Kelowna RCMP were made aware of a possible attempted abduction of a 14-year-old girl Nov. 7 at 3:44 p.m., from the area of Gordon Drive and Raymer Road.
“Police have learned that the teenage girl had been waiting in the area when she was approached by a man seen driving a cream coloured SUV or Crossover style vehicle,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, in a press release.
“The youth reported that the man spoke to her through the passenger side window of his vehicle and offered her a ride. The man told the teen he had balloons and when she did not reply or respond to him, he drove away.”
The suspect vehicle was last seen turning northbound onto Gordon Drive.
“The investigation into this incident continues,” said O’Donaghey. “Kelowna RCMP School Liaison Officers (SLO) have been engaged and police have been in contact with Central Okanagan School District officials.”
“RCMP urge anyone who had been in the area of Raymer Road and Gordon Drive around 3:30 pm and may have witnessed this interaction take place to call police.”
O’Donaghey said it was a good time to remind young people about “stranger danger” protocols.
Here are some safety tips to discuss with your children and for older children to keep in mind when they are alone (i.e. not in the care of their parents or trusted adults/guardians).
- Know your home address and home phone number and how to contact your parents on their cell phones or at work.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation: at home, from a cell, and from a public telephone.
- Travel and play in groups, regardless of your age. The popular ‘buddy system’ works best. If you become separated or lost, tell someone with a nametag (e.g. a cashier or security guard) right away; if there is no one with a nametag, preferably tell a female.
- Be polite, but avoid long conversation with strangers. If someone you don’t know asks you alot of personal questions, like where you live, Do Not Answer, just run away.
- Don’t be afraid to say NO to adults who ask you to do something for them, like find a lost pet, join them in an activity, or give them directions.
- Never accept a ride or gifts from strangers, or even someone you may know, without checking with your parents first. Keep a safe distance (two arm lengths) from strangers and cars that approach you.
- Establish a secret word or phrase for your family. This should be used in emergencies to identify a ‘safe person’ other than their parent or child giver.
- If a person tries to grab you, scream loudly, make a lot of noise, and create a disturbance (e.g. knock things over, scatter belongings, kick wildly). Shout
Help, this person is not my parent!
- Whenever possible take notes of any physical vehicle descriptors and licence plates. Call 911
- Do not wear headphones or use portable electronic devices that can distract you from your surroundings when you are walking in the neighbourhood.
- If you are taking a public bus home, sit near the front of the bus, near the driver.
- Play ‘what if’ games with younger children to reinforce these safety messages.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.