Safety concerns rise after strangers try to lure children near Modesto school | #schoolsaftey


MODESTO – Parents of Modesto City School students are concerned after three separate reports were made of strangers in a gray vehicle attempting to lure students to come with them.

It happened in three different spots near Fairview Elementary School during the week of August 21.

“You hear about it happening in other places, but when it is literally at the corner of your house, it is pretty scary,” one parent said.

Fairview Elementary families are now fearing for their children’s safety.

“I don’t think it’s even a good idea to let them play in our own yard,” one mother said. “As a mom, it’s really scary to think about, like maybe one of those kids may have been taken.”

The common denominator in each case is that the stranger was driving a gray car.

“I think you could arguably identify as attempted kidnapping of children,” said Sergeant Erich Layton from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office.

CBS13 asked Sgt. Layton if this could be human trafficking. He said it could be, but it is too soon in the investigation to know for sure.

“It’s hard to say if they are all connected,” said Sgt. Layton. 

The first stranger scare happened at Vivian and Poland Roads on August 21. A man in a gray car offered candy to kids at a bus stop in the neighborhood. 

Two days later, on August 23, a woman driving a gray BMW near Fairview Park approached a student and claimed to know their mother. They then offered the student a ride home, police said.

In both these cases, the students ran away and told their parents. 

Also on August 23, a man in a gray car offered a ride to a student walking near Rancho Encantado Court and San Ramos Way.  Modesto City Schools said the man also told the students it was too dangerous to cross the street by themselves. 

A nearby parent intervened when they saw the man talking with the student and shooed the suspicious car away. 

Sheriff deputies are now boosting patrols before and after school and trying to catch the people responsible. 

“They need to run away as quickly as possible and get somewhere where they know they are safe,” said Sgt. Layton. 

“Now that this happened, they finally understand for real that there are people out there trying to do bad things,” one father said.

Modesto City Schools sent out a notice to parents about what happened and is urging people that if they know something, say something.

“Be alert,” said Linda Mumma, a spokesperson for Modesto City Schools. “Have a conversation with your child about just being aware of your surroundings and reporting any suspicious.” 

Anyone with any information about these cases is urged to call Modesto Police or the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office.   



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