Hidden Camera Investigation: Child Lures


Thursday, November 1st 2007, 9:00 pm
By: News On 6


The man who viciously attacked a 5-year girl in Broken Arrow, is still on the loose, maybe looking for his next target. Many terrified parents wonder how he got her into his car without anyone noticing. What did he say or do? How can they protect their own children?

In a hidden camera investigation, and with parental permission, The News On 6 asked Tulsa Police Corporal Matt Hart to try and get children to leave with him from a Tulsa park. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports this story is surprising, because it is really no different from the one The News On 6 did 10 years ago, when we used an undercover officer to coax children away from a park with the lure of a puppy. We hoped after years of awareness, education and programs, this time, we would fail, but that was not the case.

Why?

Because most people teach ‘Stranger Danger’ and it simply does not work.

“Hey buddy, hey, can you help me find my dog? I lost my dog in the parking lot. Can you help me? Here, c'mere," said Tulsa Police Corporal Matt Hart to a child in the park.

Tulsa Police Corporal Matt Hart has three children of his own, so he agreed to help us put kids to the test in a News On 6 hidden camera investigation.

"You want to hold my hand? C'mon, my dog's in the parking lot. You like dogs?" Corporal Hart asked 4-year-old Gabriel.

In this case, 4-year-old Gabriel goes off with him, in a shot. We have his mother, Beth Manita's permission and she is surprised, especially since they live just one mile from where the Broken Arrow girl was abducted, and she had just talked to Gabriel about strangers the week before.

"See this man, do you know this man? Do you know him? Is he your friend?” mother Beth Manita asked her son Gabriel.

"Yeah," responded the 4-year-old.

“Well, no, he's not your friend. You don't know him. If it's not mommy or daddy or grandma or grandpa you don't go with them okay?" Manita told her son.

Like all the parents we talked to, Beth Manita struggles with what age to start these talks, and how to tell enough to keep him safe, but not so much that is scares him or keeps him from being a nice, helpful person.

"He thinks everybody is his friend and that's what they teach them at school, these are my friends at the playground," mother Beth Manita said.

Next is Irvalene Haney and her grandson. He didn't want to leave the area, but did walk all the way to Matt's truck.

"C'mon," Corporal Matt Hart said to the boy.

"No, I'm staying here," the boy responded.

"No, it's in my truck," said Hart.

"Oh," the boy said.

"Let's go look, it's in here, little, brown fuzzy puppy," Hart said.

"I'm scared to death," grandmother Irvalene Haney said.

She was surprised her grandson did not realize Matt was a stranger, and that all it took to get him was a piece of candy.

"Why did you go with him?” Haney asked her grandson.

"Cause," he responded.

"Cause why?" asked Haney.

"I got this," replied the boy holding up a sticker.

Kristen Holder wanted to participate because she has not talked to her son about this type of danger yet, and she wanted to know the best approach.

"It's on the other side of the building. C'mon, I'll show you. You want to come look?" Corporal Hart said to Holder’s son.

"Yeah, sure," the boy responded.

“Alright, right over here," said Hart.

"On the other side of the building?" asked the boy.

"Yes, on the other side of the building," Corporal Matt Hart said.

If only parents could be tagging along when this type of thing takes place for real, but it doesn't happen.

"So, what are you supposed to do?" asked parent Kristen Holder.

When talking to your kids ask them, what would you do if somebody wanted to go show you a puppy? Or if somebody wanted to give you candy? What if somebody wanted to give you money? Playing scenarios with your children is definitely the best way to keep them safe.

Not everybody fell for our ploy with Corporal Hart.

"Hey, can you guys help me? I lost my puppy in the parking lot. Can you help me find my puppy?" Corporal Hart asked a brother and sister on the playground.

"We'll ask our mom," the big brother responded.

With that, they ran from Matt and straight to their mother who was sitting on a nearby bench.

"I'm surprised, pleasantly surprised because you never know if they'll go or be helpful," mother Gretchen Criss said.

Helpful is good, but they should ask themselves why would a grownup need help from a kid? Also, don't tell them, don't talk to strangers or run away if a stranger talks to you, because kids picture a stranger as somebody scary, a monster. But, pedophiles are often nice looking and very friendly.

We had two girls killed in Oklahoma by a person their parents would think is a stranger, but the girls probably didn't because the predators were neighbors they'd seen many times. One was playing with a puppy in his yard, the other used a ‘Sponge Bob’ video as a lure. Because predators use lures, we should be teaching those lures.

We had several kids who said no to Corporal Matt Hart, click here to see how a child should respond in this dangerous situation.

More Safety Information


Watch the video: Hidden Camera Investigation: Keeping Kids Safe From Pedophiles, Abductors