The girl, a student at the Main Street School, said the incident occurred after school on Tuesday while the child was waiting to be picked up by her mother. She became concerned and the child’s mother contacted the police about two hours later after she saw a similar vehicle at a Norwalk business, police said.
Officers responded and identified the occupants of the vehicle, however, the young girl could not identify the occupants and after being interviewed their involvement could not be determined and they were released. Two children also were interviewed at the Main Street School and the video surveillance was reviewed.
While Chief Mike Conney said the incident was unfounded and everything checked out, the department has increased patrol of the areas around the local schools and are asking parents to speak with their children to warn them of the very real dangers that exist in every community.
According to the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, the state ranks fourth in the nation for trafficking. The Ohio Attorney General’s website lists 969 people as missing from the state, 726 them children.
“At this time, the reported attempted abduction cannot be substantiated. However, directed patrol will again be conducted near the local schools,” the department said in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon.
It also asked parents to review the following safety tips with their children:
• Don’t talk to strangers
• Don’t take anything from strangers
• Don’t go anywhere with someone you don’t know
• Stay more than an arm’s reach from strangers. If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately
• Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately
• Use the buddy system, avoid walking anywhere alone
• Review contact telephone numbers and home safety practices
• When seeking help, always go to a trusted adult — teacher, coach, police officer, parent or older sibling
• If some stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream “this is not my dad,” or “this is not my mom”
• Report any suspicious activity to your police department
If anyone sees any suspicious activity, they are asked to contact the NPD at 419-668-3311, 419-663-6780, or if warranted, to call 9-1-1.