1:40 PM: Following up on the incident that first came to light as an alert sent by e-mail and robo-call to Arbor Heights Elementary parents late yesterday, reported here last night along with additional information we sought from police last night, here’s what SPD Blotter has just published:
Detectives are investigating a possible luring incident Monday in West Seattle.
A 12-year-old boy was walking to school around 9 AM when a black Ford pickup truck pulled alongside him in the 1600 block of 23rd Ave SW. The driver in the truck then spoke to the boy, who kept walking. The truck then sped away.
The boy’s father was driving just ahead of the boy—to keep an eye on him as he walked to school—and witnessed the brief encounter. After seeing the truck drive off, the father picked up his son, who reported the man has asked him to help with an errand.
The boy’s father then drove through the neighborhood and caught up to the truck, and jotted down the license plate number. The father then dropped his child off at school and contacted police about the incident.
Officers went to the home where the they believed the truck’s driver was living, but residents at the house said he had not been there in more than a month.
Detectives in SPD’s Sexual Assault Unit are investigating and have identified a level-one sex offender—who is connected with the truck—as a person of interest in the case.
ADDED 3:06 PM: And now Seattle Public Schools has sent the following message to “West Seattle school families” (thanks to the Arbor Heights parent who was first to forward it to us:
Dear West Seattle schools families,
I want to share with you information on a recent event that was reported in our community. Earlier this week, Seattle Police received information regarding a male stranger driving up to a Denny International Middle School youth as he walked to school, asking him to get in the vehicle. The student refused and fled. The student’s parent was nearby and called Seattle Police with the stranger’s vehicle description and license number. That same afternoon, the parent reported to Seattle Police that the same stranger and vehicle were outside Denny after school, though there was no report to police or school administration that any students were approached by the man. Seattle Police have investigated and determined the owner of the vehicle is listed as a registered sex offender.
The Denny student did everything right, immediately getting away from the stranger and reporting the incident to his parent, and the parent was very proactive gathering vehicle information and license number.
The safety of our students is a top priority for Seattle Public Schools. You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. As a reminder, please talk to your child(ren) about walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times, as well as not talking to strangers or getting into their vehicles. Having these conversations, especially with younger children, can be difficult. We encourage you to be sensitive to your child. This link to the Seattle Police website offers some valuable information which may help you with your discussions: http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm
Seattle Public Schools
THURSDAY UPDATE: Police added a few lines to the blotter post, saying they have found and talked to the man:
SPD detectives have contacted and interviewed the person of interest in this case. The man was very forthcoming with information about the incident. Investigators are currently checking out details he provided to rule out any criminal activity on his part.