The child luring warning issued by the Kelowna RCMP on Monday is now being expanded to the Central Okanagan after two similar but seemingly unrelated incidents occurred in West Kelowna.
On March 3 at 7:18 pm, the West Kelowna RCMP received a report of a suspicious occurrence on Westlake Road near Stevens Road.
“Two 15-year-old West Kelowna boys were walking in the area, just before midday, when an unknown man in a red pickup offered them a ride,” said Const. Kris Clark, in a press release.
“The boys declined and kept walking but the man drove around the traffic circle, returned and told them to get in. The boys ignored him and continued on their way.”
No vehicle plate was obtained and the man’s description is limited but the vehicle is somewhat unique. Police are looking to speak with anyone who might be able to identify the driver.
The driver is described as:
- Caucasian male;
- 50-60 years;
- Short grey hair.
The vehicle is described as:
- Pickup truck;
- Red body;
- White stripe from front to rear wheel wells.
An incident involving similar circumstances occurred on Feb. 13 and was reported to police.
A 10-year-old West Kelowna boy was walking in the area of Westlake Road and West Kelowna Road when a man in an older, black, boxy car offered him a ride.
“The boy declined and the man drove away,” said Clark.
“The description of the man is limited but he was seen wearing a Fedora-style hat with a large chain around his neck.”
Police have no information to suggest that these two incidents are related, or that they are related to the one that occurred in Kelowna on Feb. 26.
Clark said it’s a good time for parents to discuss the importance of safety with their children to ensure they have the tools necessary to protect themselves. Here are some safety tips for children to keep in mind when they are not in the care of their parents or trusted adults/guardians:
- Travel and play in groups, regardless of your age. The popular ‘buddy system’ works best.
- Never accept a ride or gifts from strangers, or even someone you may know, without checking with your parents first. Keep a safe distance from strangers and cars that approach you.
- 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!
- Do not wear headphones or use portable electronic devices that can distract you from your surroundings when you are walking in the neighbourhood.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. 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.