ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Eastside parents and neighbors are on the lookout for a man police say tried to lure high school students into his car in two separate incidents Thursday.
Students at Eldorado High School didn’t think they’d have to worry about stranger danger at their age and were surprised to hear a man was seen lurking near Eldorado High School and S.Y. Jackson Elementary School.
“I think that’s absolutely insane,” senior Tanalynn Grant said. “I don’t know why anybody would want to do that and literally, this is a freshman girl that he tried to get into his car and, like, freshmen are like little babies that we consider like our little children and it’s just crazy.”
“I feel like security should be better here at Eldorado,” sophomore Isabella Sanchez said.
“That’s pretty crazy. I mean, you just gotta be cautious,” senior Lafayette Chavez said.
Eldorado Principal Martin Sandoval sent a letter to parents Friday stating the first reported attempt happened before zero period at the high school, and the man yelled at the girl to get in his car.
Students say the warnings spread quickly over social media.
“I heard about it on Snapchat, actually,” Grant said. “I heard my friend talking about it on her story, like, ‘My little sister was threatened by this dude. He offered for her to get in his car in like a silver SUV.'”
The second incident involved another high school girl down the street outside S.Y. Jackson Elementary School around 5 p.m. Again, he tried to convince her to get in, then followed her down the street, according to the letter.
“It makes me want to be a lot more cautious knowing someone like that is around here,” said neighbor Kelly Isakson. “I hate to create like a culture of fear or I don’t want my kids thinking they can’t do anything or have any freedom, but I certainly would rather err on the side of caution.”
The letter states the man is “Hispanic or a light-colored African American with black hair in dreadlocks and has a thin build.”
He was last seen driving a newer model silver or taupe SUV that could be a Honda Pilot.
Albuquerque Public Schools Police said it does not have a plate number or any other information other than what was sent to parents.
In his letter, the principal said there would be more patrols from APS Police and APD before and after school. A neighbor said she hadn’t noticed any extra officers.
“Talk to the people and ask them, ‘What do you see? What do you notice that could be surveyed better?'” asked neighbor Jan Kohler.
Students said they don’t think teenagers would be naive enough to get in a car with a stranger, but this incident makes them scared about more serious threats to their safety.
“Somebody could say no and they could definitely kidnap them if they did say no,” Grant said.
Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to call APD.
The following is the letter sent to Eldorado High School parents Friday:
An Eldorado student was approached by a male individual yesterday evening around 5:00 pm near SY Jackson Elementary School. He yelled at her to get in his car and then followed her down the street. Another Eldorado student was approached as well in the same manner yesterday morning on her way to zero hour. The male individual is described as Hispanic or light colored African American, black hair in dreadlocks and a thin build. He was said to have been wearing a large gold watch and a purple or maroon shirt. He was driving a newer model silver/taupe SUV similar to a Honda Pilot. The Albuquerque Police Department is investigating these incidents in conjunction with the
Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department and are actively looking for this individual.
Student safety is always of utmost concern at Eldorado, and we encourage our students to be extra careful as they walk to and from school. Students should not approach or respond to strangers or ever get in a vehicle with a stranger. Students should also walk along the main streets and walk in pairs or groups. Students and parents should report any concerns, incidents, or information they have to the EHS administration or to police.
APSPD and APD will increase patrols in the neighborhoods surrounding the Eldorado High School campus before and after school.
Martin C. Sandoval
Eldorado High School