Detectives are investigating a possible abduction attempt at 3.20pm in Cromer yesterday, 25 May 2022, after a 12-year-old boy reported the incident to his mother.
Manly Observer spoke with Clare, a local health worker, who recounted her son’s ordeal. She shared the experience in the hope someone in the area has footage or knowledge of the vehicle registration and to advise other parents of the current risk.
The Year 7 student was on his way home from school at Northern Beaches Secondary College Cromer Campus, but nearer the Cromer Public School on Meehan Road, when the alleged incident occurred.
“He was just walking along and the man has pulled up in a black ute in the middle of the road and put his window down and offered him a lift, which he declined,” the mother said.
“And then he asked him again and said ‘it’s really hot, you look really tired. Are you sure you don’t want to lift?’ and he lied and just kind of said, ‘No, I just live up the road’.
“Then he pulled the car over to the side of the road but left it idling, and then crossed the road and came over and put his hand out to grab my son.”
“Then he pulled the car over to the side of the road but left it idling, and then crossed the road and came over and put his hand out to grab my son. My son turned around and sprayed him in the face with his water bottle which stopped him for a second, obviously to put his hands up to his eyes, and then he just ran and ran the rest of the way home.”
Clare was home when her distressed son burst through the door to report what happened. She reported the incident to Dee Why Police and detectives later came over for a statement and canvassed the area with door knocks for information.
“He got a really good description of the guy and good description of the car but he didn’t get a rego number, so they are trying to find someone with footage of the car,” she said.
Clare said other parents had shared suspicious behaviours before but nothing quite this brazen. “Leaving a vehicle idle while you cross a road and grab for a child’s leg, there is nothing ambiguous about that. That’s clear bad intentions,” she said.
Official police reports have the man as Caucasian, possibly in his thirties, clean shaven with black hair in a mullet style, and dark brown eyes. He was wearing a black AC/DC baseball cap, black jumper, long blue jeans and white running shoes. He was driving a black ute – possibly a two-door with a silver-coloured tray.
Police confirmed with Manly Observer this afternoon that they are investigating the matter.
“Officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command conducted an extensive patrol of the area but neither the male, nor the vehicle, could be located,” Police advised Manly Observer.
“Investigations into the matter are continuing. Anyone who may have information about this incident or may have been in the area at the time with available dashcam footage, should contact Northern Beaches Police Area Command or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”
Clare said the local school parent community are understandably rattled and are coordinating lifts and alternate walking routes – and larger groups – while the accused remains at large.
“This is a timely reminder to talk to your kids about stranger danger,” she said.