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Strangers ask 11 yr old to get into van, prompting an investigation

Posted at 9:21 AM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 18:30:15-04

Erie County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a suspicious incident that involved a child being approached by adults outside of an Elementary School on Grand Island.

"I'm nervous because I have kids that play right here in the neighborhood, and there's all kinds of kids in the neighborhood," said Robin Jablonski, who can see the school from her home. 

Deputies say 2 women asked an 11 year old boy to get into a red van outside of Huth Road Elementary School on Thursday. The boy told investigators that the two females, in a red mini-van with dents, asked him to get into the vehicle and they would take him to dinner. 

"I'm not familiar with cases like this," said Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard. "We've had cases with one man, one woman. Hopefully this isn't something new, or a new ploy."

"My son won't be walking down the road anytime soon without my supervision!" added Jablonski, who's third-grade son attends that school.

At that point, another vehicle approached the suspicious van and spoke with the occupants. The van then left the area, traveling east on Huth, around 3:50 pm. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploiter Children says it's been educating parents and kids on what to do in these situations. Their four rules of safety include: checking first before going anywhere, taking a friend with you, telling people "no" if the situation calls for it, and telling a trusted adult.

"Get out of there, don't engage in a conversation with an adult you don't know who approaches you, say no, turn around, run away and get out of there," said Kathy Gust, the Director of the Center in Buffalo.

She added they go to schools to speak to children about the importance of safety, free of charge.

"Kids are more likely to be approached, walking to and from schools or to and from a school event," said Gust.

If anyone has information on this incident call the Sheriff's office at 858-2903.