JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Parents claim a man tried to lure two 5-year-old girls into an SUV over the weekend in a Jacksonville neighborhood.
On Saturday afternoon, Girl Scouts were selling cookies at a community fair inside the Holiday Hill Baptist Church parking lot when a man walked up and said he wanted to purchase a $5 box of cookies, according to one of the parents.
“He said he didn’t want to break his bigger bills, he had plenty of singles in his car, could he take the girls with him to his car?” said the woman, who News4Jax is not identifying.
She said one of the parents told the man it was OK, thinking he had parked across the street, but then another parent intervened and told him the girls were not going with him.
“Then he proceeded to bend down and tell the girls, ‘Do I look like a bad man?’ And then he walked off,” she said.
The woman said she discreetly followed the man to see how far away he parked from the church.
“He had parked two blocks away. He got in his vehicle and drove off,” she said.
She said she took a photo of the green SUV with tinted windows and then called police.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are entities that will try to harm people, especially children,” said Holiday Hill Baptist Pastor Albert Byrd. “As a result of that, it makes us more aware and we do tend to keep our eyes on things when people come and go.”
One woman on Nextdoor said that she believes the same vehicle slowed down by her house while her children were playing outside, but the driver took off after seeing her and her husband. Another woman on Nextdoor said a dark-colored SUV followed her niece on a bike.
“We’ve got to do everything in our power to protect our kids,” said Holiday Hill resident Bre Cherry.