Community on edge after attempted abduction

By Genevieve Helliwell

A Papamoa school is insisting its children do not walk home alone after a man attempted to abduct a girl after school.

Papamoa Primary School has spoken to its students and insisted they walked home in pairs after a man attempted to entice an 8-year-old student into his car on Tuesday afternoon.

The student was not injured and managed to get away from the offender, but police have begun an investigation into the incident.

Papamoa police Sergeant Phil Gillbanks told the Bay of Plenty Times the girl was on her scooter, going to her father's work in the industrial estate, about 500m from the school, when the incident happened just after 3pm.

He said the girl was travelling along Te Okuroa Dr, off Parton Rd, when a dark coloured vehicle drove up and parked beside her.

"The man tried to entice her into his car," Mr Gillbanks said.

"He never got out of his car so he didn't physically touch her or anything, he called [to her] out the window," Mr Gillbanks said.

The man invited the 8-year-old to go with him to an address and after she refused, he made some "inappropriate comments".

"She knew about stranger danger and went straight to her father's workplace and told him and he phoned the police."

The man was described as having dark or tanned skin with a short, greying goatee and short grey or white hair.

He was driving a four-door sedan that was dark in colour.

"It's very concerning because we don't know what his motives are," he said.

He praised the girl's actions and said she did "everything right".

"She's a very brave young lady and she's given us a pretty good description to work with. She's done everything right."

Papamoa Primary School principal Phil Friar said the student was "doing well".

"It's not the first time this has happened and it would be lovely if this was the last, but what people can do in these instances is raise awareness in the school and encourage children to talk to their parents about being safe around strangers," he said.

Many school students walk to and from Papamoa Primary.

The school has a walking school bus programme, which has been operating for about seven years, Mr Friar said.

Please contact Detective Sergeant Brazier of the Mount Maunganui Police on 07 5753-143 if you have any information, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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