Community on high alert after attempted abduction reports
October 8, 2013
A fourth report of a man in a red pickup truck possibly trying to abduct a local child — this time in Grass Valley Tuesday afternoon — had many in the county in a heightened state of alert.
And that means law enforcement is dealing with a flurry of calls regarding potential suspects.
From the time the first incident was reported on Sept. 14 through Tuesday, more than 20 callers reported suspicious circumstances involving red trucks or adults contacting children, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. And in the time period from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday, at least 13 calls were made to 911 dispatch that referred to a suspicious vehicle matching the description of the truck involved in one of the incidents.
Many of the reports stretch across the county and even into Placer County, with widely varying descriptions of red trucks and their drivers.
"We've had a number of calls, but we've developed nothing to warrant an arrest.," Royal said Wednesday.
On Sept. 14, a man reportedly tried to lure a South County student into a 1990s model Chevrolet long-bed with a white stripe and faded paint on Combie Road; the driver was described as being 30 to 40 years old, with a goatee.
The description does not match a Grass Valley incident Sept. 22, when a man reportedly tried to pick up a 13-year-old girl who was walking on Dorsey Drive near Segsworth Way, asking if she wanted a ride. A Grass Valley Police officer contacted the driver, who reportedly said he thought the girl was an adult.
That man was driving an older-model truck with yellow faded spots on the hood, and he was described as 20 to 30 years old with short, brown hair.
On Sunday, a 5-year-old girl at a residence near the intersection of Rattlesnake and Dog Bar roads reported that she was playing with her 3-year-old brother in the side yard when a man in a red truck pulled up.
He asked her if she would help him find his puppy, but the girl told him no and ran into the house with her brother.
She described him as an older man, about her grandfather's age, with a mustache, driving an extended-cab, "shiny" truck.
And on Tuesday, another incident caused the Grass Valley School District to send a safety alert to parents.
A 13-year-old boy riding his bike home from school near Park Avenue and Marshall Street at about 3:30 p.m. was approached by a man in a red truck, said Grass Valley Police Sgt. Joe Matteoni.
"The driver asked him if he would help him with something," Matteoni said, adding the boy refused and rode away with no further contact.
The man was described as being 40 to 50 years old, with no facial hair, wearing a black felt cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses; the truck reportedly had a lumber rack.
"We're just going to keep working on it — we would like to get this guy identified," Matteoni said.
Royal said local law enforcement is working closely with the county Superintendent of Schools to educate children and their parents, and continued to urge anyone with suspicions about a vehicle or a situation to call 911.
"It's better to be pro-active," he said.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.