Local News

Wake Forest police address concerns about 'stranger danger' cases

Posted January 27, 2015

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Police in Wake Forest called a news conference Tuesday to reassure residents they are doing all that they can when it comes to investigating recent reports of strangers approaching young children in their neighborhoods.

"Wake Forest has always been considered a safe place to live and have a family," Police Chief Jeff Leonard said. "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of our residents, especially our children."

Since last month, investigators have received three formal reports of two men approaching young children and trying to persuade them to leave with them.

The first happened Dec. 26 when two men in a gray or silver four-door SUV approached a child on Samuel Wait Lane in the Heritage Manor neighborhood. On Dec. 27, someone approached a 4- and 6-year-old on Lariat Ridge Drive in the Carriage Run neighborhood.

The latest report police received was around 10:45 a.m. Jan. 25. In that case, investigators say two men tried to coax a 9-year-old girl walking her dog near her house into a gray or silver work van in the Northampton subdivision near Ridgemount Street.

Police Lt. Brian Mote said there have been no reports of anyone being harmed and that in each case, the children ran from the men and reported the encounters to their parents.

Investigators are also looking into two other reports.

The first surfaced Jan. 6 on social media, in which someone reported a similar encounter involving a 12-year-old boy at The Factory sports complex.

Police received a fifth report Monday night, but Mote said Tuesday that it does not appear to be connected to the others.

In that one, a 13-year-old girl reported swallowing some pills after being approached by a masked man while she rode her bicycle near the intersection of Jones Dairy Road and Green Mountain Drive.

The girl is fine, Mote said, and she was released from a local hospital Tuesday morning.

Leonard said the police department has received other reports on social media that investigators have looked into, noting that they have had to use resources to track down "inaccurate information and hearsay."

"If you see something that looks suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police department first rather than posting it on Facebook," Leonard said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the police department at 919-554-6150. Callers can remain anonymous.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • 50s Child Jan 28, 2015

    View quoted thread

    IOW, you have no idea what it means and just thought it sounded "baaaaaad."

  • Chris Byrd Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Ok Warren. Go see Uncle Floyd for your haircut.

  • Keith Hayes Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    what charges would that be.. talking to a person they don't know... I would like to see the law you are saying they have broken. Last I checked talking to someone was not a law.. I say hello to people I don't know all the time, what crime is that.. remember in a court you have to show what law they violated.

  • btneast Jan 28, 2015

    The WFPD has enough "evidence," to ask for help from the SBI.

    And what kind of magic does the SBI have? They are primarily investigators that work crime scenes....and they are not that large of a force. Most Police Departments have access to the same data bases as the SBI does.

  • Brandon White Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    I am glad the WFPD is being informative, and like many have stated WF is essentially a safe place. That means they have enough time to concentrate on this case. It is localized to one specific area of WF. Beef up the unmarked police car presence, and ask other agencies help in cross referencing databases to find gray/silver vans registered in WF, perhaps some that have been in accidents lately. This is not a fool proof approach, but it could be something to try. I must say I am not impressed.

  • glarg Jan 28, 2015

    Does anyone find it a little odd that these "stranger danger" dudes are 0-4 and *still* going back to the well in WF?

    If this was real wouldnt they modify their plan in some way? There is a world outside of WF.

  • simplylindsey2010 Jan 28, 2015

    In regards to a previous post I made and that was commented on. The WFPD has enough "evidence," to ask for help from the SBI. As for the defenders of the WFPD, I know that you must not have children out in the WF community.

  • sinenomine Jan 28, 2015

    It's a free country, yes LETSBEFAIR, but how is posting on social media more effective at corralling criminals than calling the police would be?

  • LetsBeFair Jan 28, 2015

    They haven't addressed anything if no one has been caught. And to lean people away from social media makes no sense at all. Its a free country last time I checked.

  • diana123 Jan 28, 2015

    this is not true. and charges will be brought against these perpetrators.