Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials are urging residents to stay alert after a suspicious man reportedly attempted to abduct a 12-year-old boy on Friday, trying to entice him inside a van with the promise of candy.
The boy was walking home alone from La Cañada Elementary School at around 4 p.m. when he approached the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue and waited for a traffic light to turn green, according to a sheriff’s report.
A white van with tinted windows driving southbound on Commonwealth pulled up to the curb on the north side of Foothill, where the boy was waiting. The front window rolled down and the driver — described as a Latino wearing a baseball cap and a gray hooded sweatshirt covering his nose and mouth — spoke to the boy, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Watch Commander Lt. Gary Harman confirmed Tuesday.
“He asked him if he wanted some candy and to come in the van,” Harman said.
The boy became frightened and immediately ran north on Foothill Boulevard toward La Cañada’s Town Center, where he ran into classmates and told them what had happened, according to the incident report.
The victim’s family later contacted the sheriff’s station to file a report. The boy told deputies he was afraid he would have been kidnapped if he had not run away. An alert was issued to other Crescenta Valley deputies to be on the lookout for the van and the suspect.
Harman said there was no indication the man was preying on a particular school or students, as such suspects tend to stick to main thoroughfares where casual interaction is more likely. The watch commander urged residents, particularly minors, to stay aware when out in public.
“We encourage people to walk in groups, and if they think somebody’s following them or watching them — any of those suspicious things — we’d be happy to come and check it out,” he said.