Police warn parents about ‘strangers’, after woman motions girls at downtown camp

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Some camp counselors and parents are on high alert after a stranger approached some campers at a local YMCA. They say those two girls knew exactly what to do, thanks to their parents.  This incident causes counselors, parents, and children, are keeping their heads on a swivel for suspicious people and activity this summer.

“Lots of our camps take place outside,” said YMCA Senior Program Director, Mark Lantz.

Lantz says on Wednesday camp counselors noticed a woman near two campers which they say is out of the ordinary. They immediately moved the kids and staff inside and called the police.

“A counselor notified our director immediately. We went into our emergency preparedness plan that we have our staff trained on before summer starts,” said Lantz.

IMPD says the counselors did a great job by taking appropriate safety measures especially with more than a hundred campers on site daily.

“I think it says a lot about the YMCA’s and these after-school programs that we have now and how safe they are with their counselors that are always vigilant,” said IMPD Downtown District Captain, John Mann.

At this point, they’re investigating but they have no idea who the woman is. “It sounds like it was a one-off incident where the lady just waved at the kid or maybe a motion for the kid to come over that, was it. There was no words exchanged, nobody was approached or touched other than that incident,” said Captain Mann.

Officers and counselors commend the girls for running to counselors to let them know something was not right. “We encourage our families to openly talk to their campers before they arrive to camp for emergency situations. We also have our staff coach our campers through those incidents to make sure that they feel comfortable approaching our staff members when emergency arises,” said Lantz.

Police are sending a friendly reminder to all parents to continue to practice what they’ve been saying for years. Watch out for strangers.

“I think with summer coming on that message that has been true for years and years past I think we should still stay with that message. If your kids do not know them, if it’s not a parent that’s approaching them in these facilities then they need to let a counselor know,” said Captain Mann.

The YMCA is working with IMPD to increase patrolling in the areas where they have a summer camp.

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