It was a case of thinking fast and thinking smart. In Anderson at 6:30 Monday morning, a 9-year-old boy told his 7-year-old sister to run when she was approached by a strange man while they were waiting at their school bus stop.
Sgt. Tony Tilley, of the Anderson Police Department describes the attacker,
This gentleman pulled up in a dark-colored SUV, possibly a mid ’90′s model Jeep Cherokee. He stepped out of the SUV and came up behind the little girl. He tapped her on the shoulder and asked her if she wanted a ride. Her 9-year-old brother was with her, and when he saw what was going on, he yelled for his sister to run.
The suspect was described as a white male, thin in build and possibly in his twenties. At the time of the incident he was wearing all black: a black hoodie, black sneakers and black bandanna about his face with only his eyes exposed.
Yeah, it was pretty nervy for him to do that. And particularly with a mask on …it just really looked suspicious. And I guess that’s why the little boy recognized immediately that he didn’t belong there.
Sgt. Tilley says that parents don’t want to do anything to scare children and make them paranoid, but at the same time, he says there is a criminal element out there and children must be taught to be cautious.
The children did the right thing, particularly in just getting away from the immediate danger. What we recommend is, that if at all possible, and I know it’s not always possible to have an adult at the school bus stop, but, particularly if you’re going to have smaller children out there, to have an adult can be there with them, or even an older sibling.
Sgt. Tilley says that this is a reminder that we must teach our children to be aware of their surroundings and to quickly get away from strangers.
Speak to your children, and train your children in what to do in cases like this. Train them to notice, be aware of their surroundings, and most of the time when you have children who are at a bus stop, they’re going to be familiar with all the familiar surroundings, so they’ll know if somebody or something is out of place.