Jefferson County School District, Arvada Police warn about two cases of stranger danger

Parents warned about two near-abductions in Arvada

ARVADA, Colo. - Two near kidnappings in Arvada have Jefferson County schools warning parents about stranger danger.



In two incidents, Arvada police said an eight and a nine-year-old were nearly abducted this week.



According to Arvada police, around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, a child was walking near Quaker Acres Park, near 74th Place and Terry Court, when someone tried to entice the child into a car with candy.



Another elementary school student reported a similar incident happening around 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday, in front of Fitzmorris Elementary School at 62nd Avenue and Independence Street.



"Both of them said they were offered candy to get into the vehicle. In both incidences, they knew to run and tell an adult," said Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan.



Arvada Police sent out an alert on Wednesday.



7NEWS wanted to know why police did not alert the community after the first incident on Sunday.



"We didn't want to create a panic if there wasn't one. We didn't know if it was going to be an isolated incident or not," said McGranahan. "With the second incident described the same way, we knew we had to be proactive and let the community know about this and engage the parents and others and hopefully find this guy."



"I think it's just very disturbing that we haven't found that out; that it's been happening around our neighborhood because there's tons of kids around here," said Fitzmorris Elementary parent Alma Gomez.



Fitzmorris and other Arvada-area Jefferson County schools sent home letters with students on Wednesday. Gomez also said she received an automated phone call Wednesday afternoon.



"I wish I would have known right away, so we know what to look at. We could tell our kids, you know, don't talk to strangers," said Gomez.



On Monday, the principal of Meiklejohn Elementary school sent home a letter to parents about the Quaker Acres Park incident. According to police, he did so out of concern even though the incident happened a few miles from the school.



On Wednesday afternoon, Arvada-area Jefferson County schools sent home the following letter:


September 13, 2012

Dear (name of school) parents/guardians,


This letter is to make you aware of recent incidents involving “stranger danger” in the Arvada area.

Arvada Police received a report that a child was approached by a stranger offering candy, asking them to get into the stranger’s car.  A police report has been filed and they are investigating. There is an additional report of a child being approached by a stranger at Fitzmorris Elementary in Arvada after school.  Once again, police are investigating that incident.

We want you to know that student safety is always our top priority and this event reminds us of the importance of talking with your child about stranger danger.

Reinforce safe behaviors with your child and tell them to always be aware of their surroundings. 

If a stranger approaches your child, whether it is at school or outside of school, be sure that your child knows what to do: yell or shout, run away and immediately tell an adult.  Stress to your child the importance of going straight to school and coming home immediately after dismissal, or leaving the bus stop. 

Remind your child that if he/she sees anything suspicious around the neighborhood or school, they need to immediately contact the police department and notify the school.

I know that together, we can help protect the safety of our children.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 303-982-XXXX.


Principal XXXXX



"There was no description of anything," said Gomez. "Not even the suspect or the child or the car or anything."



According to police, the two children described a white man with brown hair. They said he had no facial hair or glasses. His age range is between 20 and 40.



The suspected vehicle is a royal blue 4-door sedan.



7NEWS asked Jefferson County Schools why the description was not included in the letter home to parents. A district spokeswoman said police approved the wording of the letter and handle suspect information.



Chris Wassum lives near Quaker Acres Park and found out about Sunday's incident from her homeowner's association.



"If these kind of pedophile people think they're going to come into our neighborhood, we're going to storm on them because we're a very close-knit neighborhood and we're not going to allow that," said Wassum. "There's a lot of children out here who play and we're concerned for their safety."

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