Police: Suspicious activity at bus stop was a misunderstanding

WAVY/Lavoy Harrell

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth police say an attempted luring report at a school bus stop turned out to be a big misunderstanding.

Police say two middle school girls were waiting for the bus in the area of Spratley Street and Peninsula Avenue around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, when a vehicle with three men drove by and stopped near the bus stop. According to the girls, they were motioned by the men to get inside the vehicle.

The girls refused and immediately went home and told an adult about the incident. The adult alerted the school administration and the school resource officer.

Police patrolled the area Wednesday and found a vehicle matching the girls’ description, as well as two of the men.

Detectives said the men did not speak English well, and had gotten lost. They tried to call the girls over for directions.

Although no one was hurt in this incident, Abbie Witt, a grandmother in the neighborhood, said it made her nervous enough that she may approach the civic league about setting up a rotating watch at the bus stops.

“If the word’s out that neighborhoods are having watch, not just this one, but all around, kids are protected by people and police are backing them up. I think it might make a difference,” Witt said.

Police still ask that parents remind their children not to talk to strangers or to get into a vehicle with anyone they do not know or do not have permission to be with.

In this case, even though it was a misunderstanding, police say the girls did the right thing by running away and telling an adult.

“[Their reaction] was excellent,” said Detective Tim Northern. “They didn’t feel comfortable with the situation, they assessed the situation and they ran away.”

Northern says it’s important parents give their children a contact number to reach an adult they feel comfortable with at any time, and stressed that parents should tell police and school administrators about any suspicious incidents

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