Families Talk Safety After Suspicious Incidents In Alb. Co.

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

May 23, 2013
Albemarle County Police say there is no longer a threat to the community after a district-wide email was sent out from the Albemarle County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent. The incidents explained in the email have parents sitting down their kids to talk about safety.

It was an email explaining a situation parents never want to think of.

"This is frightening," said Keswick resident and mother of two, Selena Stone. "Especially in Keswick, we feel safe. It's just scary."

An 'urgent safety email' from Albemarle County School District warned families about a suspicious man going door to door in Keswick targeting families with children.

"We had a couple of [Burley Middle School] students in the southern part of the county, in the Keswick area, who were approached by a stranger when they got off the bus in the afternoon," said Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer for county schools. "The stranger was asking them about children that lived in the neighborhood. It was reported to one of our principals."

"I have an 11-year-old which terrifies me further because he is so young that he would respect a man coming up to him feeling like 'he's an authority figure so I better do what he says' and that terrifies me," Stone said.

As Albemarle County Police were on the look-out for the man in a white Chevrolet with Texas license plates, he actually stopped by the police department on Thursday afternoon to straighten everything out. Police say he proved he was a college student working for a company which has a license to solicit in the county.

"It's an opportunity to remind folks about the importance of talking about safety with their kids and about safety in getting on and off of buses," Giaramita said. "We hope parents will take the opportunity to do that."

"We'll have a discussion tonight at dinner, I'm sure," said Tara Mincer, Keswick resident and mother of four. "Luckily nothing bad actually happened but it never hurts to go over this again and remind the kids that there are bad people out there sometimes bad things happen and you have to be smart and maybe being polite isn't always the best choice."

School officials and police say from the moment the incidents were reported, to the district-wide email and descriptions of the man, it was a team effort to keep children safe.

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