While the boy did not actually cry “wolf,” Warwick detectives have determined that a 13-year-old skateboarder who told police a man in a gray van asked him to help find his cat was telling the truth. But the man was not trying to entice the boy into his mini-van; he was trying to locate the family cat that had run off the residence and gone missing.
Detectives took the reported attempt to abduct the boy seriously and located the mini-van and the man driving it. After investigating the incident, police determined that the confrontation between the boy and the man on Oct. 11 did not occur in City Park but actually took place on Wellington Avenue, a residential street near the park. The investigation also determined that there was no attempt to entice, lure or abduct the 13-year-old male involved.
“The individual in the gray van, determined to be an area resident, was forthcoming and cooperative with police during the investigation,” according to a press release from Lt. David DeAngelis. “The circumstances revealed that at some point Friday afternoon the family’s cat ran off from the residence. In an attempt to locate the pet, the individual stopped and asked people who were out in the neighborhood if they had seen the cat.”
DeAngelis reported that he did talk to the boy, but he also approached an adult female who was out walking and asked if she had seen the cat and then gave her his phone number and address and asked her to call if she did see the cat.
Nevertheless, DeAngelis said the boy did the right thing.
“The 13-year-old male should be commended for advising his parents and the police since he felt as though the man’s actions were suspicious,” said DeAngelis. “He was able to provide an accurate description of the man and his vehicle, which greatly aided police in developing a positive identification.”
He said it was the responsibility of police to take such reports seriously.
“Because of the 13-year-old’s actions, Warwick Police were able to investigate the incident and determine there was no nefarious intent on the part of the individual, calming neighbor’s fears,” DeAngelis said.
For further child safety tips please visit the Warwick Police Department website at www.warwickpd.com or the National Crime Prevention Council crime prevention/protection website http://www.ncpc.org.