Darlington residents “on high alert” after man in white van approaches several children

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Darlington police are warning parents about a suspicious man in a white van trying to lure in children in the Oak Dale community.

Police are describing him as a clean shaven, white, male driving a white van with dark, tinted windows.

Tonya Ward lives in the Oak Dale community, and she says she’s a little more alert this week after one child in her neighborhood ran to her house for help.

“One of the kids was coming from the country club walking and just was a little concerned and smartly ran to my house and let us know,” said Ward.

He said he saw a strange man in a white van around the neighborhood, and he’s not the only one.

Darlington police say several people have reported seeing the van around Oak Dale, and it’s not something they are taking lightly.

“Within thirty minutes, there was a police officer at my house taking a report from us. They’ve been patrolling the area, and we’re very, very grateful,” said Ward.

Lt. Kimberly Nelson with the Darlington Police Department says although nothing serious has happened, you can never be too careful.

“A simple thing can sometimes turn into a big thing but, you know, caution. We don’t mind we work twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. We don’t mind checking out and finding out what’s going on,” said Nelson.

Lt. Nelson says you should remind your children the following safety tips:

-Don’t talk to strangers.
– Don’t take anything from strangers.
– Don’t go anywhere with someone you don’t know.
– Stay more than an arm’s reach from strangers. If you are approached by a stranger, seek help immediately.
– Trust your instincts, if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
-Use the buddy system, avoid walking anywhere alone.
– Review contact telephone numbers and home safety practices.
When seeking help, always go to a trusted adult – teacher, coach, police officer, other parent, or older siblings.
-If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away.

– Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, “this is
not my dad,” or “this is not my mom.”
– Report any suspicious activity to your police department.


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