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Flagler County deputies warn of 'stranger danger'

Image of a pickup truck similar to the one that deputies say the man was driving. (Photo provided by Flagler County Sheriff's Office)
Image of a pickup truck similar to the one that deputies say the man was driving. (Photo provided by Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

PALM COAST, Fla. – After two children reported that a man tried to lure them into a pickup truck Friday morning near a bus stop in Palm Coast, investigators learned that the incident was a misunderstanding, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said.

According to the case report, the children, ages 11 and 9, said they left their home early Friday morning to go to the bus stop at the intersection of Colorado Drive and Columbia Lane when a man in his 60s drove up in an older model, white four-door Ford F-250 towing a landscaping trailer and got out of the pickup. 

The man told the children it was dangerous to cross the street and asked them to get in his pickup so he could drive them back to their parents, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the children then ran to their bus stop and called their mother, who called the Sheriff's Office.

On Saturday, deputies said they had identified the man and learned the incident was a misunderstanding. Deputies said the man was only trying to get the children from standing and playing in the street while waiting for the bus. 

“This incident had the potential to turn into every parent’s worst nightmare,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. 
“Thankfully these kids had been taught by their parents what to do and they knew not to get into this 
guy’s truck. And, they knew to tell a trusted adult what happened immediately.” 

The Sheriff's Office asks parents to have conversations with their children about safety and remind them to use the buddy system and walk with a friend, sibling or parent. Deputies said it's also important that children know to be aware of their surroundings, never talk to strangers and report any suspicious activity to an adult, a teacher or the Sheriff’s Office. 


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