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Berkeley police investigating attempted kidnapping near elementary school

A Berkeley school district and police sent out a warning Tuesday after an attempted kidnapping of a student outside an elementary school Monday afternoon.

The incident involved an unknown suspect driving a white van or SUV that approached the student outside Ruth Acty Elementary School on Monday, according to a letter from Berkeley Unified School District to the school community.

The student involved in this incident is safe and unharmed, the school district said.

The Berkeley Police Department is investigating the incident as an attempted kidnapping. The student was appraoched while they were walking on Rose Street, and the suspect asked the student if they wanted to get into their vehicle, the district said.

The student did not get in the vehicle and instead ran home.

Berkeley police advise that if a student believes someone may be following them, they should immediately start heading toward the nearest crowded place and call 911 for help.

The district offered other safety practices children should follow when walking to and from school:

  • Stay with a group whenever possible. Always walk with at least one friend, two or three is even better.
  • If a stranger offers you a ride, say “NO!” and stay far away from their car.
  • If a stranger follows you on foot, get away from them as quickly as you can. You can run and yell loudly, “HELP!”
  • If a stranger follows you in a car, turn around and go in the other direction.
  • Never leave school with a stranger.
  • Tell a trusted adult if a stranger is hanging around the school, playground, or other public areas populated by young people, including restrooms.
  • Never accept things from a stranger when walking to or from school.
  • If a stranger asks you a question, don’t talk to them. Run away.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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