ROCK HILL, S.C. - A potential child predator may be in our area after three South Carolina children reported a man for trying to lure them into a car with a puppy.
Now the children are being praised for doing the right thing. And now law enforcement wants to know, what would your child do?
This incident happened at a Smoothie King located on Herlong Avenue in Rock Hill, S.C. on Friday.
A girl reported a man for repeatedly trying to lure her to his vehicle to show her a puppy. The girl refused and called her mom, who contacted police.
Rock Hill PD spokesperson Mark Bollinger says they are still working to find that person. They aren’t sure if the suspect intended to harm the children or if it was a misunderstanding.
Either way, deputies with the York County Sheriff's Office said they hope parents will use this close call as a teaching opportunity.
YCSO public information officer Trent Faris says now is the time to start a serious discussion about "stranger danger."
“Have those plans in place now before the school year starts,” Faris said. “This is the time where they need to have those conversations about the people they can trust in their neighborhoods.”
Faris also recommends parents establish a "code word" that family members can use on the phone or via text if they are in an uncomfortable situation.
He says often, abductors will try to lure children by saying they have something interesting -- whether it be a puppy, candy, etc.
He added they have also seen cases where strangers try to convince children they were sent by the child’s parents to pick them up.
“You need to tell them that if they don't know them 100 percent -- like your child has not had a full conversation with that person -- they are not to trust them at all,” Faris said.
Police say this is especially important right now because predators are known to lurk around bus stops.
With school starting up, they say now is the time to have those conversations.
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