Update: ‘Attempted child luring’ reported in school alert – what we’ve since found out

6:10 PM: Thanks to the Arbor Heights Elementary and K-5 STEM parents who forwarded this, which they said they’ve received from school staff via e-mail and robo-call this past hour or so:

There has been a report of an attempted child luring in the vicinity of our school. The vehicle is a black F-150 Ford pickup, driven by a heavy-set, older black male. The license of the truck is B060—. The police were notified, and the subject is a registered sex offender. The suspect has not been apprehended. Please be aware and talk with your children about keeping safe. More information to follow tomorrow.

That’s the entirety of the notice, at least in the version forwarded to us. STEM and AH are currently sharing the Boren Building at 5950 Delridge Way SW. We are checking with police, who will be at tonight’s Crime Prevention Council meeting (7 pm at the precinct, Delridge/Webster) if we don’t reach them sooner.

7:06 PM UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske has been looking into this for us. He finally found the incident report and says it happened yesterday – it was originally called in as a different type of incident, and while investigating that, they say, a child told them of being approached by the person described in the alert, so they are now looking for that person. (We only had a quick comment to speak with him before the WSCPC meeting – if we’re able to get any more info afterward, we’ll add.)

8:49 PM UPDATE: So far what we’ve found out, from covering the Crime Prevention Council meeting, is that this was reported yesterday afternoon and the report is categorized missing child/suspicious vehicle (again, the child is safe, and was not abducted or otherwise harmed, we’re told). The registered sex offender who is believed to be the suspect does not live in the West Seattle area. The report carries the address 26xx SW Kenyon, which is the Denny IMS vicinity, but short bits of info on police reports can carry the address from which an incident is reported instead of where it happened, so we’re still awaiting confirmation of where exactly the child was approached. (Added: 6900 block Delridge, per police)

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: We’re continuing to follow up with police and Seattle Public Schools. In comments, two STEM parents have shared this text of a followup message from their principal:

I received several inquiries about a school messenger sent out by Arbor Heights yesterday concerning an alleged child luring incident. The information contained in the message was shared by a parent, and we were not able to confirm several details after conferring with SPS security or the police, and so we were advised not to send an alert. Because of the questions, I am sending out an update of information we were able to confirm.
.
On Monday, November 17 the driver of a black Ford 150 truck with a roof rack was acting suspiciously while talking with a 7th grade Denny Scholar on his walk to school. The driver was reported as being a heavy set older African American male. The incident was reported to the police.
.
As always, communicate with your children regarding good safety practices.

9:09 AM: We’ve been talking with SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard over the past hour. She confirms that a local parent saw the suspicious vehicle, reported it to police, and then directly contacted schools. Howard says there is supposed to be a protocol for what steps are gone through to send a school-wide alert, and they are sending a reminder to school administrators about that today.

34 Replies to "Update: 'Attempted child luring' reported in school alert - what we've since found out"

  • evergreen November 18, 2014 (6:28 pm)

    Neither my husband or I got the robocall or email. Thank goodness you are here WSB!

    STEM parent

    • WSB November 18, 2014 (6:45 pm)

      I’ve made initial contact with police, and they’re trying to verify this. For starters they can’t verify the plate so I’ve taken off the last few digits, which is per our policy anyway unless it comes *from* police. Will add whatever more we find out – en route to Crime Council meeting now.

  • StringCheese November 18, 2014 (6:44 pm)

    No call or email here either. I second evergreen’s sentiments. Thank you WSB! Just finished reviewing safety procedures with my 4th grader…

  • mp November 18, 2014 (7:07 pm)

    I didn’t receive a call either. Glad my kids have good sense when engaged by strangers, but can’t ever talk about it enough. Thanks, WSB.

  • Heidi A November 18, 2014 (7:18 pm)

    i didn’t get a call or email either.

  • AH Parent November 18, 2014 (7:23 pm)

    Around 5:00 tonight, we received robo cell phone call, robo home phone call and email from our school principal notifying us of this incident. Grateful for the communication. AH Parent

  • AH Parent 2 November 18, 2014 (7:45 pm)

    Arbor Heights does a great job with their communications! I know they have worked hard to ensure they reach 100% of families when sending a phone and email message via SchoolMessenger (the robo call system SPS uses). Thanks for keeping us all well informed. It’s especially important in times like this.

  • NotOnHolden November 18, 2014 (8:01 pm)

    No call or email here.

  • Mama4 November 18, 2014 (8:13 pm)

    Requested info about why STEM parents didn’t get a robocall – will post once I hear back here & on Facebook page.

  • Wendy W November 18, 2014 (8:18 pm)

    STEM parents & guardians- We did not receive information regarding this incident and the PTA is trying to find out what happened/ and where this actually occurred and why we were not notified. Stay tuned- will update as soon as we have more info.

    • WSB November 18, 2014 (8:32 pm)

      Thanks, Wendy. Adding yet more from the Crime Prevention Council meeting, at which we were the only media in attendance as usual, and from checking Tweets by Beat based on what I have learned.

  • AH Parent 3 November 18, 2014 (8:26 pm)

    Received the call and email as we’ll – our school does have great communication. And the YMCA had locked doors today at pick-up — good call! Maybe they should always. That side of the building isn’t as visible.

    • WSB November 18, 2014 (8:40 pm)

      Still working on more info, following up on the Crime Prevention Council meeting – this wasn’t brought up, but we asked police about it there (it is routinely attended by several SW Precinct reps, and we are usually, as was the case tonight, the only news media there). The actual incident types you’d see on Tweets by Beat, minus details, were “missing child” and “suspicious vehicle,” and the address was 26xx SW Kenyon, which is more the Denny vicinity, but sometimes the addresses shown on police logs are where an incident was reported FROM, not necessarily where it happened, so we can’t assume anything from that. – Tracy

  • Mama4 November 18, 2014 (8:36 pm)

    Ah parent 3- those doors are supposed to ALWAYS be locked. I’ll bring this up again with christy & ben.

  • AH Parent 4 November 18, 2014 (9:14 pm)

    The communication between administration and staff to AH parents and guardians are amazing. Not only did we receive a call about this incident we get weekly phone and emails letting us know what is happening. Hopefully other schools follow because this form of communication is very helpful.

  • evergreen November 18, 2014 (9:45 pm)

    This whole thing is bizarre. We share a building, yet hear only crickets on the STEM side? Maybe the event didn’t happen on campus since there was no reported lock-down. Can only speculate at this point.

    • WSB November 18, 2014 (9:58 pm)

      I haven’t seen the actual report narrative, am just getting it in bits and pieces, but that is how the report was classified because that’s how the call started, a child (don’t know age, from what school, etc.) was reported missing briefly, then when child turned up, child mentioned being this guy in a car trying to talk to him. Just got a bit more info – while the incident was originally called in from 2600 block Kenyon, “it happened close to the 6900 block of Delridge.”

  • Heidi A November 18, 2014 (10:07 pm)

    I am guessing there is a good chance that STEM staff didn’t get the report. Otherwise, we would have received the call, emails, facebook posts and website posts. Our new principal is very diligent and proactive about timely communications in addition to our weekly Owl Post.

  • Nick November 19, 2014 (8:11 am)

    I didn’t get a call either something has been going on this year at STEM last year I got all notices now I get very little info and definitely didn’t get this call. I will be following up with the school new principal needs to get on top of this.

    • WSB November 19, 2014 (8:35 am)

      We’re continuing to follow up this morning, both with the district and with SPD, and so far it’s all about as confusing as it was last night. The basic questions are:
      .
      1. what exactly happened (the incident that sparked this alert)
      2. if two schools share one building and there is an incident deemed worthy of an urgent all-school alert for one, why wouldn’t the other be in the exact same loop
      .
      TR
      .
      (Edit – While I was writing this, two earlier comments came in, with the STEM principal’s explanation.)

  • StringCheese November 19, 2014 (8:31 am)

    Email from the STEM principal this morning:

    I received several inquiries about a school messenger sent out by Arbor Heights yesterday concerning an alleged child luring incident. The information contained in the message was shared by a parent, and we were not able to confirm several details after conferring with SPS security or the police, and so we were advised not to send an alert. Because of the questions, I am sending out an update of information we were able to confirm.
    .
    On Monday, November 17 the driver of a black Ford 150 truck with a roof rack was acting suspiciously while talking with a 7th grade Denny Scholar on his walk to school. The driver was reported as being a heavy set older African American male. The incident was reported to the police.
    .
    As always, communicate with your children regarding good safety practices.

    .
    Considering this, I believe that the STEM principal acted appropriately.

  • Mama4 November 19, 2014 (8:32 am)

    Here is the message STEM parents should have had today –

    “I received several inquiries about a school messenger sent out by Arbor Heights yesterday concerning an alleged child luring incident. The information contained in the message was shared by a parent, and we were not able to confirm several details after conferring with SPS security or the police, and so we were advised not to send an alert. Because of the questions, I am sending out an update of information we were able to confirm.

    On Monday, November 17 the driver of a black Ford 150 truck with a roof rack was acting suspiciously while talking with a 7th grade Denny Scholar on his walk to school. The driver was reported as being a heavy set older African American male. The incident was reported to the police.

    As always, communicate with your children regarding good safety practices.

    Thanks,

    Ben Ostrom

    K-5 STEM Principal”

  • NotOnHolden November 19, 2014 (8:35 am)

    I am concerned that two schools housed in the same building made two completely different decisions about this incident. Is there no communication between the two, at all?

  • Mama4 November 19, 2014 (8:37 am)

    Nick – sounds like you are not getting school messages. We get one at least once a week (the Owl Post) and many in-between. I posted above what principal sent out this morning. You can check in with secretary to confirm your details (or on line with “The Source”)

    Our principal acted on advice of the police and SPS security – see above.

  • Mama4 November 19, 2014 (8:47 am)

    STEM principal made the call after talking with SPS / security. AH principal was not on site and the admin in charge made the call to send out information based on a parents report. Both decisions were done in the best interest of both communities.

    Both schools work together and have plans in case of emergencies on site, but we are two very different schools (with different curriculum, staff, practices, and rules)

    • WSB November 19, 2014 (9:08 am)

      Following further conversation/exchanges: Per SPS there IS a protocol for sending out all-school alerts – which had been our understanding, and which is why the original message last night would be taken so seriously – but it was not followed in that case. So they are reminding all their administrators today about that protocol. And as also was pointed out in the conversation, reporting a possibly suspicious sighting is NOT a bad thing – police urge that all the time – this did originate with a parent seeing this vehicle, reporting it, and then apparently taking it upon themselves to alert schools.

  • Heidi A November 19, 2014 (9:06 am)

    Nick – I get the weekly Owl Post, daily school fusion notices with updates from classroom teachers and our librarian, other updates from Mr. O on events and our middle school roll-up, and alerts from the PTA website and Facebook page. Our K teacher also uses the Classroom Messenger app. I don’t think there’s something going wrong at STEM with communication. The school and PTA website are updated timely and frequently. Make sure the office and your teacher has your info. You can also sign up for School Fusion on the district’s website and PTA website alerts on that site or just check them regularly.

  • Cook November 19, 2014 (10:00 am)

    I actually called the ymca and they didn’t know about the incident. They were great about taking the proper measures once they heard. We need to make sure the school is informing after school care when something like this happens.

  • Vincent Dakotah Langley November 19, 2014 (10:12 am)

    …WHAT’s the matter with some “people?”, anyway, they’d even so much as think about luring a child?
    GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!!!

  • ACH November 19, 2014 (11:35 am)

    And the correct “protocol” is … ?????

  • wsres November 19, 2014 (1:38 pm)

    I’ve tried reporting twice to the WS Editor a coyote, 2 weeks ago, maulled and killed a local cat at 3:00pm on 39th SW. I’ve not received any feedback from the editor. I did report it to Wildlife phone voicemail and received no return call either. If a notice about a traveling wild coyote had been posted on this site I would have been more vigilant about the cat killing predator.

    • WSB November 19, 2014 (1:45 pm)

      That’s not related to this topic but, we have been publishing coyote sightings for six years. They are FYI’s, not urgent alerts, but by now everyone should know they can be in any neighborhood at any time. http://westseattleblog.com/category/coyotes

  • SPS Parent November 19, 2014 (2:33 pm)

    Maybe think about updating the “protocol” for 2014, SPS. Parents are finding out first from FB & WSB.

Sorry, comment time is over.

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann