PORTLAND, Ore. -- Police on Sunday received multiple reports of young girls being offered money to get into the car of a man in Northeast Portland.
The first report came from two girls, ages 11 and 10, who were walking home on Alberta Court from the Khunamokwst Park at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The girls told police a man driving a silver car waved money at them and asked them to come to his car. The girls ran away and told their parents, who called police.
“He asked where they were going and they said 'home,' and he said ‘come here,’ ” said mother Maya Fitzgerald. “They just looked at him, so then he put up a $10 bill and said ‘come here, come over here,’ and that’s when the alarm went off and they ran to the home.”
Fitzgerald said she and her husband talk to their daughter about avoiding strangers, and she’s glad her daughter listened.
“I’m grateful and very, very proud," she said. "I don’t know what his intentions were, but they can’t be good.”
The girls told the police the man had medium-brown skin and a beard, was overweight, in his mid-30s, and was dressed in dark clothing. They also said he smelled like marijuana. The car the man was driving was older and dirty, with damage to the driver's side door and no license plates.
Shortly after, police received a second report from a 9-year-old girl, who said she was confronted by a man who offered her money from his car window near a church on Northeast 56th Avenue and Alberta Street.
The girl said the man was in his 20s, black, with a thin build and short curly hair. She said his car was white, old and had plastic tape over a back window.
A 55-year-old woman also reported to police she was approached in a similar man while walking with her grandchildren. She said the man waved money out the window of his car and licked his lips. The woman said the car was an old grey Honda.
Police said they have not identified any suspects and are uncertain if the incidents all involve the same person.
Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau said he hopes that someone saw the man or shot video of his car. If you have any information about these incidents, please call the police non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.
Simpson added that this case offers a teachable moment for parents.
“We want parents to talk to their kids about stranger danger, and what’s appropriate,” he said.