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Stuart Johnson, KSL TV

Police search for neighborhood 'stranger' waving kids over to van

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Feb. 6, 2020 at 7:36 a.m.


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LAYTON — Police have urged parents to talk to their kids about “stranger danger,” after a man approached children in two separate incidents and waved them over to his van in Davis County.

Both incidents happened in the Camelot Park neighborhood in Layton, south of Davis Hospital.

Investigators from the Layton Police Department said the first incident happened on Tuesday, January 28. A 10-year-old girl told her parents a man driving a blue van waved her over and then exposed himself.

“She approached, and got fairly close — close enough to see that the guy had actually exposed himself,“ said Lt. Travis Lyman. “She was pretty startled, obviously, by what she had seen and kind of froze.“

The girl ran home and told her father, who reported it to police. Neighbors shared the information on Facebook so others would be aware.

Police responded to the area and looked for the van. They also intensified patrols in that area, and were in the process of investigating sex offender data bases to see if a suspect with a blue van emerged.

Then on Monday around 5:15 p.m., two girls, ages 10 and 13, both said they were walking on the same street when they were approached separately by a blue van and driver matching the same description.

“They say he waved to them in a gesture to come over to the van,” said Lt. Lyman. “They didn’t. They took off running in that case, and he drove away.”

Officials said the girls’ parents had seen the Facebook post from the first incident and had talked to the girls.

“They prepped them, and said, if you see anything like this, run away,” he said.

Photo: Stuart Johnson, KSL TV

Talking about 'stranger danger'

Lt. Lyman said parents should talk with their kids about “stranger danger” as soon as they’re walking places by themselves. He gave some talking points for parents to pass along to their children.

Parents should tell children to keep their distance from anybody who pulls over and waves them over to the car. Don’t go to the car. If something looks wrong or frightening, run away.

“In one of the cases, that’s exactly what these girls said that they did,” said Lt. Lyman.

He said abductions by strangers are rare, but men exposing themselves to children is a lot more common. Either way, the advice was the same.

Children should also find another adult who can help, but get away from the dangerous situation.

Officials did not think the man was trying to kidnap the children, but they want to find him anyway.

“It’s very scary, and serious, and traumatizing to the kids,” said Lyman. “But, it does not look like an abduction attempt at this point.”

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Jed Boal

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