Muskogee police officers are investigating after several children said someone tried to lure them away. Police said three different reports came in just this week.
In all three situations, police said the children did the right thing and ran away.
Muskogee police said several young children encountered possible child predators going to and from school.
Officer Lincoln Anderson said, “Two males going up to a couple of kids walking down their drive or getting ready to walk down their driveway, probably didn't have the best of intentions.”
Anderson said it's not out of the ordinary to get a report like that when school starts back up, but three in one week isn’t normal, and he said parents need to take note.
“While they should be concerned, they also need to know we're doing everything we can to, at this point, to try and figure out who these people are and get them stopped,” the officer said.
On Monday and Wednesday, Anderson said two men in a white Ford Focus approached children and offered them candy. Anderson said one incident was reported near South 61st Street, the other, near Country Club and Chandler Road.
Investigators said the incident on Wednesday involved two boys, 9 and 10 years old. Anderson said the boys told the men no twice and continued walking until the car drove away.
Then, on Thursday, a 12-year-old boy said he was approached near North 43rd Street and Gibson Street. In that case, police said a different vehicle with only one man inside was reported.
“Said he was waiting at the bus stop in the morning where he always does, a maroon Pontiac with some front-end damage pulled up, tried to offer him a sucker, he took off running,” Anderson said.
Police said they’re certain the first two incidents are connected but can't say for sure that the third report is related.
In each instance, Anderson said none of the men grabbed the children to try and pull them in the car, but they tried to entice them with candy.
Anderson said it is always safer for children to walk in groups.
“There's strength in numbers. These criminals are looking for an easy target. The more kids that are walking in a group, whether it be from school or some friend’s house, the less apt these people are to approach them,” Anderson said.
The Muskogee school district said it is on high alert. It's put out a memo to parents, bus drivers have been given vehicle descriptions and teachers have been asked to talk with students about staying away from strangers.
“Make sure your kids know to stay away from people they don't know. If they don't know them, stay away from them. If they're being followed, find an adult, it doesn't matter who it is, just find somebody,” Anderson said.
Anyone with information should call the Muskogee Police Department at 918-683-8000.