On today’s date, 1/14/19, at approximately 7:50AM, a 12-year-old girl was walking to school when she cut through the rear of a lot located at 510 S. Hamilton Rd. There is a large apartment complex in this area. She realized she was being followed by an adult male who was trying to engage her in conversation. Once close enough, he reached out and grabbed her backpack. She was able to drop the backpack, freeing herself, and run for help. She escaped unharmed back to her residence.
Police are requesting help from anyone who may have seen this incident or may have seen the suspect fleeing the area with the book bag. The suspect is described as a male Hispanic in his 30s, approximately 5’-10” tall, with a thin build and clean shaven. He was wearing a black coat with a hood pulled up over his head and khaki colored pants that were described as “Carhartt” type material. This missing book bag is described as a purple drawstring bag. The drawstrings on the bag are purple and white alternating like a candy cane. Police are actively pursuing any leads and giving extra attention to the area.
“This is a good opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and go over safety protocols when walking alone or to school”, stated Dep. Chief Dan Kelso, “Parents should remind children to never walk alone when possible and stay in groups or pairs, stick to the main routes in public view, and never take short cuts that take them out of the public eye. Additionally, reiterate they should never talk to strangers or approach unknown occupied vehicles. If they feel threatened or in danger they should yell and scream for help as loud as they can and run away immediately, just like this girl did.”
Anyone with additional information is asked the call the Whitehall Police Department, 614-237-6333.