MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Police say a password saved a Maricopa girl from a would-be kidnapper Friday morning.
It happened near a bus stop not far from Desert Wind Middle School, which is located on Honeycutt Road near Murphy Road.
According to the Maricopa Police Department, a man approached a girl who was on her way to school. That man tried to coax the girl into his car by telling her that her mom had been in a car crash.
“Thankfully, the student asked the man for the ‘password’ she and her family had established and he drove away,” Maricopa Unified School District told Arizona’s Family. “She called her parents and they immediately contacted the police.”
The suspect is a dark-skinned man in his 30s or 40s. He reportedly was wearing a green shirt with white stripes and was driving a tan car that looks similar to a four-door Honda Accord.
The district contacted parents to let them know about the incident and remind them about “stranger danger” guidelines.
“Although we review safety precautions with students, it is imperative the school and parents team together,” the district’s letter to parents said. "Whether students are walking to and from school, or even playing in the neighborhood, certain precautions should always be taken to ensure the safety of your child(ren).”
Advice for children
» Always be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity immediately to a parent, responsible adult, teacher, school administrator, or police officer.
» If you are approached by a stranger and offered anything, say NO and tell an adult immediately.
» If a stranger approaches you at a bus stop, tell the bus driver immediately that the person is a stranger.
» Never walk alone. Always walk in pairs or with a group.
» Take well-traveled, open routes to school. Avoid alleys or poorly lit areas.
» Never go anywhere with someone you don’t know.
» Do not speak to strangers; do not respond to calls or comments from strangers.
» Stay away from an adult who is asking children for help, as in seeking directions or looking for a lost puppy.
» Don’t let a stranger into your home.
» If you have any fear of an adult stranger speaking to you, walk away.
» If someone grabs your wrist, make your arm spin like a windmill; yell as loud as you can; then run.
» If you’re riding your bicycle, keep the bike between you and the adult.
Advice for parents
» Keep young children at play outside your home or in the park within view.
» Make sure that outdoor activities are supervised.
» Teach your children that they can use any telephone, even a pay phone, to call 911.
» Teach your children that it’s okay to say “no” to what they sense is wrong.
» Have your child photographed at least once a year, more often if under 5 years old.