Gresham police investigating stranger danger report involving ma - KPTV - FOX 12

Gresham police investigating stranger danger report involving man, 6-year-old girl

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Pedestrian access path that connects Northwest Division Street with Bella Vista Place. (KPTV) Pedestrian access path that connects Northwest Division Street with Bella Vista Place. (KPTV)
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

Police are searching for a man who approached a 6-year-old girl and said, "Do you want to come to my house?"

The incident happened between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday on the 1700 block of Northwest Division Street in Gresham.

"Her father and I talk to her all the time about if you don't know somebody and they approach you and you're scared, don't talk to the person that you don't know and scream, run. And that's what she did yesterday and that makes me proud," said Danielle Whitford, the girl's mother.

Whitford said her daughter was playing with friends in an adjoining neighborhood when a strange man approached her on a pedestrian access path that connects Northwest Division Street with Bella Vista Place.

That's when she said the man talked to her. There was no physical contact between the man and the girl.

The girl yelled, "no," and ran away from the man. The girl told police the man had followed her for a short distance before heading east on Division Street.

"When she told him what happened she was shaking and you could see it in her face how scared and terrified she was," said Whitford.

Whitford did not take the incident lightly.

"I got in my truck and I just went in the direction where everybody said that he went," Whitford said.

But she found nothing. Whitford said this is something that can happen to anyone, and she's hoping her story will help save someone else.

"I don't want to hear it on the news that someone with that description took a kid this time. That would break my heart," said Whitford.

The man is described as a thin white man in his 30s with dark hair and a star-looking tattoo on his face. He was wearing a green shirt and black shorts.

Investigators are hoping to talk to the man to better determine the nature of Monday's incident.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information about the person of interest in this case is encouraged to contact the police tip line at 503.618-2719.

"The young girl is safe, largely credited to her bravery and remembering what her parents taught her about 'stranger danger,'" according to a Gresham Police Department statement.

Gresham officers speak in numerous classrooms throughout the school year, talking with students of all ages about stranger danger. Officers provide younger students with coloring books that cover topics like stranger danger, gun and traffic safety to help parents facilitate an open dialog with their child. A copy of the coloring book is available for parents at the police department's records desk.

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