GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Guilderland police are investigating a suspicious incident after they said a man offered a young boy a ride to school.
As police look for the suspect, parents who live in the area said they’re surprised.
“I was always worried about them,” David Williams said. “You always had that fear in your mind that something may happen; that somebody may try to approach them.”
When his girls were young, Williams was always concerned about them walking to the bus stop.
“I wouldn’t have them walking, being they’re alone,” he said. “I think I’d be worried about that.”
That fear happened to one boy Wednesday morning. Around 7:25 a.m., on Presidential Way off Route 155, an 8-year-old boy was waiting alone for the school bus when he was approached by a male in a vehicle, according to police.
The male offered the boy a ride to school, but the boy declined. The man drove off toward Route 155.
Guilderland Deputy Chief Curtis Cox said they don’t know the man’s motive.
“Legitimate neighbor attempting to do something nice or was it someone that was attempting to do harm?” he said.
Either way, Cox said it is up to parents to decide whether their children are responsible enough to wait at a bus stop alone.
“Err on the side of safety, so to be watchful of the bus stop or to escort the child to that bus stop,” Cox said.
Most importantly, though, he urges parents to talk to their kids about what to do in similar situations.
“It’s always good to reiterate safety messages, so we would certainly recommend that they do now,” Cox said.
The Guilderland Central School District notified parents about what happened in a post on its website that stated the boy is a student at Guilderland Elementary School and reported the incident to his bus driver.
This morning, a Guilderland Elementary student reported that an unknown man drove up to him in a small green car while he waited at the bus stop. The stranger asked the student if he wanted a ride to school. The student wisely told the man no, and the man drove away. When the bus showed up, the student immediately reported the incident to the bus driver.
Principal Lockwood of Guilderland Elementary has filed a police report with the Guilderland Police Department, who will likely be increasing patrols in the area for the next few days.
We ask parents to have conversations with their children about what to do when approached by a stranger. At no time should students talk with a stranger at the bus stop and certainly never get in a stranger’s car. As a district, we will be asking our teachers to talk with their students about these safety precautions as well.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, please call the Guilderland Police Department (356-1501), or the district office (456-6200).
As for Williams, even though his kids are older, he still makes sure to have the conversation.
“Anybody outside of the area that you don’t know, don’t talk to nobody,” he said.
Police said the suspect is a black male in his 40s or 50s. He was driving a dark green car that may have black on the bottom sides.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (518) 356-1501.