Portland police investigating reports of man trying to lure chil - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland police investigating reports of man trying to lure children with money

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Portland Police Bureau is alerting the public after receiving multiple reports of a man trying to lure children into his vehicle by offering money.

The first reported incident happened Sunday afternoon at Khunamokwst Park at 5200 N.E. Alberta St. Officers from the North Precinct report that two girls, ages 10 and 11, said they were walking home from the park on Alberta Court when the noticed a man driving behind them.

The girls told police that the man waved money at them and asked them to come to his car. The children said then ran away from the scene, told one of their mothers and called the police.

Maya Fitzgerald is the mother of one of the attempted luring victims and said she could not even think about what could have happened to the girls.

“He said ‘Come here.’ They looked at him and felt a little suspicious so they started looking around,” she said. “They didn’t answer him, he put up a $10 bill and said, ‘Come here, come here,’ and that’s when they panicked and ran.”

The girls described the man as black and heavy set with a beard, around 34 years old, wearing black clothes and smelling like marijuana. They said the car was an older silver car that was beat-up and dirty with missing rear lights, no license plates and damage to the driver’s side door.

As officers were taking a report at the first location, a second incident was reported from a 9-year-old in the area who said she was approached by a man offering her money from his car window. This incident happened near a church at Northeast 56th Avenue and Alberta Street.

The child described this man as a black man in his 20s with a thin build, short curly hair and wearing a baseball cap. She said he was driving an old white car with plastic tape over a back window.

Officers said they also received a report of a third incident, this time involving a 55-year-old grandmother walking her grandchildren home. The woman said the man waved money out of his car window while licking his lips and described the suspect vehicle as an older gray Honda.

Investigators say that at this time no suspect or suspects have been identified and that they are not certain the three events involve the same suspect, though the actions and neighborhood were all very similar.

Police ask that anyone who sees this kind of behavior immediately call 911 to provide whatever information they can. They also ask neighborhood residents to check any security footage to see if any of the incidents were recorded.

Officers also recommend that parents take the opportunity to talk to their children about “stranger dangers” in order to keep them safe. 

Fitzgerald said that is what she has done with her daughter and is glad the lesson paid off.

“I’ve always kind of coached her and said don’t ever go anywhere, run, run, run,” she said. “it’s just so important to pay attention. If it looks out of place it’s out of place.”

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