Deputies investigating rash of Thurston Co. luring attempts

TUMWATER, Wash. -- Thurston County sheriff's deputies are asking parents to be on high alert after getting a report of a third attempted child luring in the past three weeks.

The latest luring happened Monday morning at about 8 a.m. in a neighborhood near Tumwater. A 10-year-old girl was waiting alone at a bus stop when a man pulled up in his car and tried to convince her to get in.

"(He) tells her that he's lost his dog and asks her can she help him find it. And if she does he'll give her some candy," said the girl's mother, who did not want to be identified.

The mother saw the car from her house and immediately went outside to confront the man, at which time she said he sped away in an white four-door car, according to deputies.

She didn't get a good look at the driver, but said he appeared to be in his 20s or 30s with black hair.

"I can't believe somebody wants to take other people's children away," the mother said. "My daughter is my world, and I really hope that this will let other parents know that this can happen."

Neighbors in the area say the recent trend of attempted luring is disturbing.

"Yes, I'm kind of upset about it. I mean I'm going to be watching now. I feel sorry for them if I catch them, because I'll be on that phone really fast," said Roxann Patane.

Just three weeks ago, deputies say a man in his 30s with blond hair tried to entice a 10-year-old boy into his car near Olympic View Elementary School in Lacey.

A week later, a 12-year-old told his parents a man with dreadlocks passed him several times and appeared to be following him as he walked home from Lydia Hawk Elementary School in Lacey.

"It's very sad and it just brings home that it's very real and this can happen in any of our neighborhoods," said Frank Arend, the principal at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary School.

While deputies investigate the three cases, the mother from Monday's incident is warning fellow parents to be extra careful.

"It happened to my daughter. It's scary. I'm still shaking from it, knowing what could have happened to her. So all parents need to be vigilant and know this can happen," she said.

Deputies have yet to make any arrests, and officials from the school district say they are evaluating whether it's safe for children to be alone at bus stops.