Maui police are advising the public of a stranger danger incident reported on Monday morning in Lahaina in which a suspect reportedly attempted to pull a young girl into a vehicle.
According to police reports, the 11-year-old girl was walking with a six-year-old girl on Lahainaluna Road near Kelawea Park when they were approached by a vehicle between 7:15 and 7:40 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.
Police say an unknown male exited the vehicle while holding a bat and told the older girl to come over and that he would take her to school. The suspect grabbed the girl by her jacket and pulled her to him, according to police.
A bystander reportedly yelled at the suspect, and the girl was able to run away. The male ran after her and tried to pull her back to the vehicle, according to police reports, but she was able to pull away again and ran away with the younger girl.
Police say the suspect got back into the vehicle and drove away. The girl reported the incident to her mother who in turn reported it to police.
The suspect is described as in his late 20s to early 30s, average height and slightly heavy build with dark hair. He was wearing black shoes, black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt, according to police.
The suspect vehicle is described as a newer model black or dark grey four-door sedan, possibly a Honda with unknown plates.
Anyone with information is about the incident is asked to call police at (808) 244-6400 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
Below is a list of tips provided by Maui police following a past incident:
- Teach children to make sure to get permission from parents or guardians before going anywhere;
- Children should be taught to be aware of their surroundings;
- Inform children that it’s okay to say “no” and get away as quickly as possible if someone does or says something that makes them feel uncomfortable and to report the incident to a trusted adult;
- Talk to children and let them know who the trusted adults are in their lives;
- If possible, children should use the buddy system when playing or going somewhere;
- Abductors often deceive children into being compliant and going with them by offering incentives such as pets, candy and toys;
- Teach your children to inform you right away if they are approached by a stranger who offers them something or pays special interest in them;
- Role play with your children and regulary discuss different scenarios with them.