TACOMA, Wash. — Police say a man tried to lure an 11-year-old girl into his pickup truck as she waited for her school bus.
“I was terrified. That’s the last thing you ever want to hear,” mom Jenelyn Hopkins said.
Abeni Schwebke was standing along South A Street, just two blocks from her home, when police say a man in a four-door black pickup truck stopped and told her to get in. Abeni declined but he persisted.
“He kept coming up with different ways to get her, I know where your school is, I will take you there, it’s really cold, just get in,” Hopkins said.
Police say the man took off after the school bus arrived.
The suspect is described as a 40-year-old white man with short shaven hair and a bald spot, He was wearing rectangular glasses and a red polo shirt. Police say the black pickup truck was a newer model vehicle, possibly a Ford. The girl also noticed a logo on the driver’s side wheel well that was triangular in shape, like a flag or pennant.
“This can happen anywhere and not just in Tacoma,” Tacoma Police spokesperson Loretta Cool said.
That’s why police are urging parents to think twice before letting young children walk or wait for the bus alone.
But Hopkins says sometimes that’s hard. She has multiple kids to get to school every day. After the traumatic incident, Hopkins was determined to drive Abeni to school.
But before she could figure out how to do that, Hopkins says, Destiny Middle School offered to pick Abeni up right in front of her house.
“They were willing enough to arrange that for us,” Hopkins said.
Q13 News spoke with another dad, Adrian Jones, on Thursday. He also has an 11-year-old daughter.
He heard about the luring and says he’s always worried about his daughter’s safety.
He’s signed up his daughter for self-defense classes in the past.
“She can break out of a hold and take off running,” Jones said.
Jones says he will wait until his daughter is much older before she goes anywhere by herself.
“It makes me feel really unsafe,” Jones said.
Hopkins and her daughter know firsthand what that now feels like.
“She’s obviously scared and doesn’t like that feeling and anybody else to feel that,” Hopkins said.
Tacoma Police say if your child is the only one at the bus stop, try calling your child’s school to see if they can pick them up at your house.
There are also neighborhood organizations like Safe Streets that has volunteers who can help out.