SPARTA, MICH. - Police in Sparta are looking into a report of a man who tried to kidnap a teenager. Officers said they're always concerned -- but so far, there have been no reports of children physically harmed or abducted.
On Thursday, a 14-year-old girl told Sparta Police that she was walking home when she was approached by a man in his 40's or 50's driving a large black van.
"He asked her if she wanted to see some puppies, she said 'no,' tried to keep walking, then he asked her if she wanted a ride home, she said 'no' and then she took off running," Chief Andrew Milanowski explained.
The teen told police it happened near the north part of the village.
"It can happen to anyone, anywhere," Milanowski said.
Milanowski said the girl's response was the right one. "Get your distance and get away, make a scene, draw attention to yourself because that's probably what's going to scare the person off," Milanowski said.
He said these kinds of reports aren't typical. The department get a few a year, or every few years, but they haven't seen an increase in reports.
This particular incident still serves as a good reminder for parents and children -- they also shared this reminder to Facebook.
"I think it's a great thing that it turns the light on and makes you start realizing, 'yeah this can happen here' -- it can happen anywhere you live," Milanowski said.
Police are urging anyone in that kind of situation to not investigate. It's important to put distance between yourself and the situation and get away as quickly as possible.
"The important part is to get your distance and get away so nothing does happen," MIlanowski said. "It's sure nice to have, but I'd rather not have [Information] than to have a child actually abducted because they're trying to get information and hanging around the scene a little too long."
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