BY DUCK PATERSON
Two incidences this week of strangers inappropriately approaching girls walking to and from school in Ladysmith aren’t linked, but are concerning, say police.
The first incident happened Monday, Dec. 5, at approximately 8:30 a.m. near Ladysmith Intermediate School, according to Ladysmith RCMP. A man thought to be about 50 years old asked a girl walking to school if she wanted to see his puppy, though he didn’t appear to have one with him. The girl continued walking and reported the incident once she was at school.
The second incident happened Wednesday, Dec. 7, at around 4:45 p.m. A man, possibly in his 20s, asked a girl walking home along Sixth Avenue near Ladysmith Secondary School if she wanted a ride home. The girl said no and reported to police that the suspect got into a white sedan and drove away on Sixth in a southbound direction.
RCMP say while social media users have linked the incidents, police don’t believe the cases are connected, as the descriptions of the two men are very different. Police also note that an image of the white car that has been circulating on social media hasn’t been confirmed to be the suspect vehicle.
Police say they are very concerned and are taking the reports seriously; however, “we are not classifying the two incidents as possible abduction attempts, contrary to the social media reports.” RCMP say they have increased patrols around the schools.
“We recommend that if children are walking to or from school that they walk with a buddy if possible and stay in well-lit areas,” police advise.
Teenagers who have cell phones should call 911 if they become concerned for their safety for any reason.
“Descriptions of people, vehicles with licence number if possible, are also very helpful, as is calling police as soon as possible. Finally, if people think that they have any information that would further either investigation, they should contact police and let us follow up accordingly,” said Ladysmith RCMP.
The intermediate and secondary school have both distributed letters cautioning parents to remind students to be vigilant when walking to and from school.