Local Little League officials have issued a “cautionary tale” to parents after an incident last week at where a child was approached by a stranger with the lure of having toys in his truck.
Police are investigating, Lt. Scott Janes said. An e-mail message sent out to parents and coaches this week explaining the circumstance and providing safety tips was the right thing to do, Janes said.
The e-mail message on Tuesday from Hamilton-Wenham Little League Safety Officer Chris Dearborn advised parents to talk about the incident and share safety tips with their children. Dearborn said the incident is a reminder that parents and players should “remain acutely aware of our surroundings and remain vigilant in looking out for each other.”
“I think it is prudent to get out that message,” Janes said.
Dearborn accurately described the incident in the e-mail and no similar occurrences have subsequently been reported, Janes said.
The incident occurred last Tuesday and was reported to police on Saturday, Janes said, adding that he didn’t know why it took so long for it to be reported.
The victim was a sibling of a minor league Little League player who was playing at Patton Park, according to Dearborn’s message. The sibling was playing on the playground at the park, which sits just beyond left field, police said.
The man, whose exact description was not provided, said he had some toys in his truck, or something similar, police said.
The child began to walk with the man and the mother noticed and intervened, according to police.
“Thankfully, the child was completely unharmed,” Dearborn said in his message to parents.
No more details about the man or his truck were gathered because the only thing on the mother’s mind was her child’s safety, Dearborn said.
Some safety tips shared by Dearborn include:
- Taking note of people in the surrounding area and around the playing fields
- Not allowing players to stray from the practice or team
- Never leaving a player alone after a practice
- Never allowing a player to walk home alone
- Have all contact information on player's parents or legal guardian with you
- Requiring parents to notify the coach when a babysitter or someone other than the parent will be dropping off or picking up a player
- Know who that designated pick-up person will be and what he/she looks like