"Come with me; I'll bring you to school," van driver allegedly told Pittsfield student
PITTSFIELD — The male driver of a van allegedly blew kisses and offered a ride to a female middle school student early Wednesday morning.
The male, whose name has not been released, allegedly told the girl, "Come with me; I'll bring you to school. You won't be late, I promise."
The child told the driver to leave, or she would call police.
Those are some of the new details released by city police on Friday about the ongoing investigation into the incident.
The child was on her way to school, walking in the area of Linden Street between 6:30 and 6:55 a.m., according to police.
The blue van passed by the child four times during which the man allegedly "made a kissing face, whistled, stared," and made the offer of a ride.
Police said the driver did not attempt to physically force the child into the van nor did he threaten to force or coerce her into the vehicle.
The girl went to a local convenience store and reported the incident to the clerk, who contacted police.
The vehicle was identified and the driver has been interviewed, police said. The man admitted to being in the area at the time the incident allegedly happened, but he denied any type of encounter.
The investigation is ongoing with additional witnesses interviews and reviews of video surveillance from area businesses.
Police said they will release more information at the conclusion of the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.
Safety tips ...
In the wake of Wednesday's incident between an adult male driver and a female middle school student, city police have offered the following safety tips.
• Remind children to:
1. Check with the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
2. Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
3. Say "no," if someone tries to touch or hurt them and that it's OK to stand up for themselves.
4. Tell a trusted adult if anything makes them feel sad, scared or confused.
• Walk the route to and from school with them, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help. Tell them not to take shortcuts and stay in well-lit areas.
• If younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they're supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.
• Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them, such as asking for help or offering them a ride. Tell them never to approach a car without getting your permission first.
• Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.
• Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them. If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.
• Be sure your children's school has up to date emergency contact information. Learn about their pickup procedures so only those you've authorized can pick up your children.
• Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.