Editorial: City on lookout for van

By Kelly Makiha

1 comment


Police are yet to get that important piece of information that will help lead them to the arrest of a man who who has been lurking around school children in Rotorua.

The man, seen on several occasions driving a white van, has tried to coax children into his vehicle by offering money or lollies.

But despite several reports to police, they still don't have a proper description or registration number. I can totally understand how this has happened. When fear sets in, you panic and don't think logically.

About five years ago, I dodged what I believe could have been a very serious assault or worse.

I was running along Pukehangi Rd around midday when a man drove past, did a U-turn then drove slowly alongside me.

He was staring with a revolting look in his eyes and licked his lips. He had dark and rough skin and long greasy hair.

I knew his intentions weren't good so I bolted down a driveway.

I remember shaking as I was trying to get the gate open to the house. Looking over my shoulder I could see his car was parked on the roadside. No one was home at the house but I could hear another neighbour over the fence. I decided to make a dash back up the driveway, along the road near where the dodgy man was parked and down the driveway of the next house.

A lovely older man was in his yard. We walked out to the road and the dodgy man's car pulled away. The older man took me home and I rang the police but was shocked when they asked me a simple question and I couldn't answer it. What colour was the car?

"Um, it was purple, no, dark grey. Hang on, white?"

I literally had no idea. I have been a crime and court reporter for more than a decade and know how important details are yet on this occasion I froze.

Sadly this incident has made me quite frightened when running alone, however it has made me super-conscious of getting registrations and descriptions.

I hope the current dodgy man in the white van doesn't strike again but if he's foolish enough to try, the city is on the lookout. It's only a matter of time before he is caught.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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