Several incidents of a white male attempting to lure school-aged children into his vehicle were recently reported in both Alachua and Union Counties.
On Oct. 25, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office posted an update on its Facebook page warning people of the incidents in which a man offered “$40 and some weed” if the children would get into his SUV.
The comments under the original post include parents worried about the safety of their children. Art Forgey, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, hopes parents will take the time to talk with their children and make sure they understand stranger safety and why it’s important.
“They need to sit down and talk with their children on a daily basis, not just because we have an incident like this,” he said. “In this day in time, they need to stress safety with their children daily and let them know they can talk to them.”
Alachua County isn’t the only county dealing with incidents like this.
Last week, it was reported that a similar incident occurred in Union County as well, but with a separate vehicle. Forgey said the ASO is working with the surrounding counties in the area to see if there’s any connection between the incidents.
“Our crime analysis unit will start working with all of those agencies, as well as any other agencies from around the state that have had suspicious incidents where juveniles were targeted,” he said. “We can compare notes, compare what they’ve gained, what we’ve gained, and see if something they have or something we have might help identify this person.”
One safety measure the school district utilizes is having resource officers on duty at all elementary, middle and high schools during school hours. Forgey realizes the importance of these officers and is making sure that all officers know about this latest incident.
“They all have received a criminal intelligence bulletin detailing the information we’ve gotten so far as well as some information from surrounding areas so that they can watch for suspicious incidents off campus as well as their time spent on campus,” Forgey said.
To report any information on the incident, call 352-955-1818.