Winnipeg girls approached by man in car in two separate incidents: police
(CTV News file image.)
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Police Service is asking for the public's help after two girls in different neighbourhoods said they were approached by an adult in a car.
Police responded to an incident on Nov. 5 in the East Elmwood area involving a 12-year-old girl walking home from school.
At approximately 4 p.m. the girl was approached by a man driving a car who asked her where she lived and if she would get in his vehicle. The girl was able to get to safety and police were notified.
In this incident, the vehicle was described as a white four-door car. The driver was described as a man between 20 to 30-years-old with short brown hair.
Carly Bahrey, the girl's mother, said the incident is alarming.
"I'm just nervous and scared at the same time," said Bahrey. "You never think that something like that would happen to you or your child or anything.
Bahrey said she has confidence in the police and that her children will continue to walk to school while continuing to be careful.
"It definitely makes me a little bit more aware," she said. "I've always taught my children to be aware and to watch out behind them."
Police said a similar incident occurred on Nov. 3 before 4 p.m. in the South River Heights neighbourhood.
Police said a 12-year-old girl was walking home from school when a man driving a car approached her. The driver, the only person in the vehicle, stopped the car and attempted to engage the girl in conversation while still in the car. When the girl walked away the vehicle turned around and again approached the girl, with the man inside asking her to get into the car. The girl ran safely to an adult bystander and police were called.
Police said the vehicle was described as a newer model white car. The suspect was described as a man with a skinny build, between 20 to 30-years-old, with short, curly hair.
Police are asking parents and caregivers to take additional precautions and attempt to have school-age children accompanied by an adult, if possible, while police continue to investigate.
Anyone with information is asked to call the child abuse unit at 204-986-3296 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8144.
Winnipeg police highly recommend talking to children about strangers and what to do in situations where someone approaches them.
"We want to give the kids some good information," said Winnipeg police Cst. Andrea Lefort. "Some things that make them feel empowered and they can do things to help keep themselves safe rather than opposed to just walking away and leaving them with a sense of fear."
Lefort said parents should go over who qualifies as a stranger.
"When we use the term 'know,' we mean that this someone you already have a relationship with like a teacher, an adult that is involved in your life in some way, shape or form, as opposed to 'well I know them because I've seen them in that area before, maybe they work at a store I've been to once,' that's not knowing someone."
Parents should also tell kids that it is okay to scream, run and ask for help if someone does try to force them to go somewhere, according to Lefort.
"Most adults would never ask a child for help, that's a big red flag," she said. "Most adults wouldn't ask a child for directions are help looking for their puppy."
Lefort said police should be notified anytime a child is approached.
"If something seems off or something feels strange, especially involving our children, we need to know about it right away."