Police, parents in Syracuse concerned after multiple children solicited by strangers

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-05 23:32:52-05

SYRACUSE, Utah -- In the last few weeks, there have been four separate incidences where children in the same Syracuse neighborhood have been allegedly solicited by strangers.

Police know of three reported cases where children in the same Syracuse neighborhood have been offered rides or candy by strangers trying to lure them into a car. We spoke with one of them, 11-year-old Spencer Sherman.

On February 16, Spencer was walking his dog Dakota down the block.

"Tan car pulls up on the curb and asked me to get in the car," Spencer said.

The boy said there were three men in the tan car, and when he turned to run away they shouted profanities at the 5th grader. Police stated the driver was a white male and the passenger a black male. There was no description for the passenger in the back seat.

"I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, this is really happening'. I kind of started to kind of pick up my pace a little bit, and then I was into a full sprint," Spencer said.

When Spencer got back home he told his mother, who called police. In the days that followed, more cases started popping up.

“We got one on the 16th and one on the 17th and then the next one was on Tuesday," said chief Garret Atkin with the Syracuse Police Department.

In the incident on the 17th, witnesses reported seeing a gray “sparkly” vehicle with two white male occupants inside. They reportedly offered a different juvenile candy and told him to get in the car. The juvenile rode away on a scooter.

On February 26, a juvenile female reported seeing an older white male in a tan vehicle who had a beard and who was bald. The man drove away, but the same juvenile reported seeing him again parked near bus stop on March 3.

Also on March 3, two kids who had gotten separated after a scout meeting were offered a ride by a male in a light-colored car.

All of the incidents occurred in the area of 2150 South 1475 West.

All of the reports involved different vehicles and suspect descriptions. Spencer’s dad, Andrew, decided to organize a town meeting so that parents could get together and educate the community on the potential threats. Sherman said he’s proud of his son for doing the right thing and said this doesn’t change the way he feels about his neighborhood

"If your children know what to do in those circumstances they’re safe, then they make good decision, they know when to run," he said.

Syracuse police are investigating and are asking the public for tips. A town meeting organized by Sherman is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at a Stake Center owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 2024 South 1475 West. The meeting is open to the public. Anyone with information about the incidents are asked to call the Syracuse Police Department at 801-825-4400.