SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Police in South Kingstown are investigating after a stranger allegedly tried to persuade a boy to get into his car near Wakefield Elementary School.
According to police, the boy was walking home from school on Wednesday when a man approached him.
Investigators say they now have a person of interest in the case.
“It’s really scary,” said Joyce Parker.
According to police, the man was driving a black van with tinted windows. He is described as being in his 50s with an unshaven face.
Parker said she lives next door to the school.
“There’s only so much you can do as a parent. You can only teach so much,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do. If somebody wants to do something, they’re going to do it.”
The boy told police the man asked him several times if he wanted a ride – getting more and more persistent each time.
When the boy said no, the man drove off, according to police.
“You know, years ago I think you could walk around the neighborhood and walk to school, but I don’t think you can trust it today,” added Sue Tetzner of Narragansett.
Police said they did not find out about the incident until one day after it happened. On Friday, the boy and his parents sat down with police.
“They should probably be walking more kids together and not alone. And if at all possible, maybe a parent or parents take turns if they don’t work to pick up a few kids in the neighborhood,” Tetzner said.
Police said they interviewed a person of interest on Friday and an investigation is ongoing.