Two girls report abduction attempts at Indianapolis school bus stops
Two students from Rhoades Elementary School reported attempted abductions Wednesday morning. The students say a man tried to lure them to his SUV. One of the girls was with her mother at the school bus stop when it happened.
People in the neighborhood reported seeing the suspect driving up and down the street over the last few days. The two attempted abductions happened about the same time - 8:00 am Wednesday - near Washington and Wichser Avenue on the Indianapolis west side.
One of the students, a fourth grade girl in the Wayne Township School District, was waiting at the bus stop with her mother when the man pulled up and kept insisting they get in. They refused, went home and called the police.
"He kept asking me and my daughter to get in his truck and we kept telling him no," said Kitty Barnett.
The stranger left Barmett's daughter so fearful she did not want to attend school Thursday, which is a huge change of heart for the fourth grader who loves all of her classes.
"She was scared. She went and stood behind me. She went and said, 'Mommy, get him away.' This morning she didn't even want to go down to the bus stop. Me and her went and walked down there scared but there was a Speedway officer. He went and came down through here and parked over here and waited until everybody got on the bus," said Barnett.
Indianapolis Metro Police also heard from another mother the same morning who described the same man approaching her daughter at the school bus stop.
Both mothers gave police the same description of a Hispanic man in his forties driving a white Toyota SUV with license plate 756-ZYG.
Meantime, Rhoades Elementary is in the process of notifying parents about the attempted abductions and warning them to keep their children safe at bus stops.
Some of those parents had already heard about the attempted abductions after word spread fast through the neighborhood.
Greta Owens has a nephew at the same school. Her own children will start attending Rhoades next fall and she is already laying down some ground rules about strangers.
"It's scary!" Owens said. "They stay together and come straight home and talk to no strangers, none."
The Director of Safety and Security for Wayne Township Schools wants parents to make sure their children know to notify an adult immediately (including their bus driver) if they see something suspicious, to take turns with other parents on their block to stay at the bus stop until all the children are picked up and to teach their children how to call 911.
"This guy is out to get somebody," said Kitty Barnett.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 262-TIPS. The person who provides information leading to an arrest will receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.