Plano police held an informational meeting Thursday at Daffron Elementary School, days after a 9-year-old boy says he was nearly abducted while walking home from school.
On Jan. 22, the boy said he was walking home from school at about 3:30 p.m. along the 4500 block of Lorimar Drive when a man in a white van pulled up next to him and offered him a ride.
When he refused the offer, the boy told police the man got out of the van and grabbed him. The child said he was able to escape the man's grasp and run home.
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Police told parents Thursday to create a plan with the children that includes a safe word that only the child and whoever picks him or her up would know. Parents should also point out nearby homes that would be considered “safe” homes to run to, police said.
The suspect has been described as white, of average height and with a thin to medium build. He is bald and has a thick, black and gray mustache and driving a white minivan with tinted windows.
"We're taking this very seriously,” said Officer David Tilley, spokesman for the Plano Police Department. “The safety of the children in our community is paramount to us."
The boy's school, Daffron Elementary, sent a letter home with students alerting parents to the attempted kidnapping.
Police have increased patrols in the neighborhood. They are also canvassing and asking any home owners with video surveillance in the area around Lorimar Drive to contact investigators.
Their advice is for parents to talk to their children about walking in groups and not talking to strangers.
“[I’m] a little nervous, just made me realize – it’s kind of a reinforcement for me to talk to my kids,” said parent Mark Flores, who said his two children and more than half of the others in the neighborhood always walk home from school.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Plano Police Department Tip Line at 972-941-2148.
NBC 5's Catherine Ross and Bianca Castro contributed to this report.