The Bradenton Police Department is investigating a possible child abduction attempt involving two students who attend Prine Elementary School in Bradenton.
Two students, ages 7 and 8, were in the 3000 block of Oxford Drive walking home from school, 3801 Southern Parkway, Thursday when they were approached by a white SUV, possibly a Hummer with chrome "spinner" wheels, according to police news release issued Friday. On the back windshield was a small sticker of a circle with a bear in the middle.
"The passenger of the SUV asked the children if they wanted some candy, the children ignored the offer, and continued to walk eastbound on Oxford Drive," the release states.
The suspect was described as being 25 to 30 years old, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head. The children did not provide a description of the driver.
Police spokesman Capt. Warren Merriman said release of information about the incident was delayed until Friday because the first responding officer did not notify their supervisor about what had happened. Merriman said police were investigating and the officer might be disciplined for the lapse.
Margi Nanney, spokeswoman for the school district, said she was informed of the attempted abduction at 8 a.m. Friday, and her department acted on it immediately by preparing and sending a notice to campuses and parents throughout the district.
Nanney said the district would have preferred to be informed of the incident much sooner.
"The sooner the better, so that we're able to notify the community," she said.
Another spokesman, Mike Barber, said the school district would be sending an electronic phone message to parents.
Merriman said parents need to remind their children of the dangers of unknown persons approaching them while going to or from school, and for their children to notify a school official or law enforcement officer immediately if such an incident occurred to them.
Anyone with information about this incident can call Detective Jeff Beckley at 941-932-9328 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or sendingan anonymous E-Tip thru the web at www.manateecrimestoppers.com.