GREENWOOD, Ind. -- Neighbors in Greenwood are watching their streets more closely after an 11-year-old girl said a strange man tried to coax her into his car. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is warning parents in that area to be on alert.
From the moment that 11-year-old girl said a strange man hollered at her in a white van, that little voice inside her said to be careful.
"I felt like something was wrong," said the girl. For their safety, both the girl and her mother asked not to be identified.
The incident happened around 8 p.m. Friday on Shady Lane in Greenwood. The girl told police the van pulled up while she was planting flowers to help a neighbor.
"He said ‘Hey sweetheart, why I don’t I give you a ride home?’” said the girl, “and I said, ‘No I’m good, I live somewhere around here,’ so he said, ‘Please just get in the car, it'll be quick and I can drop you off.’”
She stood her ground but said she feared running away, afraid he’d then know where she lived.
"[I’m] very glad that she knew to back away, and keep her senses about her, and not get anywhere near the vehicle,” said her mother.
Once he left, the girl ran to her parents who called police, who are now investigating. Her family has since posted an alert for neighbors on the Nextdoor app.
The girl’s mother said the incident highlights why it is so important to speak with your children about the dangers posed by strangers. She said it’s also important to know who your neighbors are, so your kids recognize when something seems out of place.
"She was able to identify immediately that that was not a vehicle that she knew in her neighborhood,” said the girl's mother.
The sheriff’s office said the driver was a white male in his forties with glasses, a slight beard, and blackish or brown hair. The girl also said he had a lip ring.
If you have any information on this case, you’re asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.