Police investigate third alleged luring incident at Oaklands school

Detectives don't yet know if cases are connected; public urged to be vigilant

Victoria police have stepped up patrols around Oaklands elementary school during school hours after a student said he was offered money to go with a man on Tuesday.

It’s the third report of an attempted luring at the school in a month.

The 10-year-old was allegedly approached after school near the school grounds, on Belmont Avenue in Victoria. The student refused to go with the man, and went to tell a friend. The children reported the incident to adults that night.

Police don’t yet know if the incident is connected to two previous reports of attempted luring near the school grounds.

“We’re looking at that right now. We’re not seeing a lot of consistency in the three different (cases),” Det.-Sgt. Todd Wellman, with VicPD’s investigative services division, said, adding police have few leads at this early stage of the investigation.

“So we’re taking this time to alert the public and the people in that area, because this last incident on Tuesday was a little more overt than the first two.

“(In) the first two there was a male described as motioning to some kids to come over to the car, and there was no communication. And this last one there was a male close to or on the (school) grounds speaking to one of the students.”

Police were initially called to Oaklands on May 15 and 17 after two female students, similar in age to the 10-year-old boy, said they were each motioned by a man to come closer.

The incidents allegedly happened near the school grounds, around 8:30 a.m.

Descriptions of the men and vehicles involved vary. One girl reported seeing a black convertible on May 15. The second girl said she saw a van during the May 17 incident.

The frequency of the reports is “unusual,” reason why “we’re taking this time to make sure that parents and neighbours and the school are communicating well with each other and making sure that the kids are safe.”

School officials have not increased the number of supervisors in the school yard when the children are playing during lunch and recess.

“My belief is that we’ve always had comprehensive coverage, and we continue with that coverage, so I think we’ve done well in determining whether people don’t belong in our area or not,” said school principal Mike Phelan.

“I’m very concerned, but I’m confident in that what we’re doing, along with Victoria police, is right in line with what we need to do.”

School officials and detectives are continuing to advise parents to teach their children street safety, including walking to and from school in groups.

Parents are also urged to remind their kids to immediately tell school officials if they are approached by an adult.

It’s good advice for children, regardless of the school they attend, said Wellman.

“We also want to make sure that all parents and communities have an increased awareness around any school, and to report suspicious persons to police any time they see that,” the detective said.

In the most recent incident, the suspect is described as a white male in his late 30s or early 40s, with short black hair. He was clean shaven, and was wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and sunglasses at the time.

Detectives are encouraging anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity near Oaklands school on June 5 to call the Victoria police non-emergency line at 250-995-7654, or make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police circulated photo of alleged cat thief actually woman with her own cat

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Saanich girl, 12, speaks to lack of supports, says mom

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

The memory of RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett comes in many forms, including through a scholarship awarded annually by the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission. (Courtesy RCMP)
Beckett memorial scholarship opens for applications from Greater Victoria

$2,000 awarded annually to student pursuing a career in law enforcement

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta order, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports first vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Most Read