Police are investigating the city’s most recent report of an attempted child abduction by a stranger.
The latest happened near the Nixa Junior High School. An 8-year old girl told police a man in a white truck told her to get into his truck. Detectives say the girl told the stranger ‘no’ and she got away.
The alleged incident happened Wednesday. Officers weren't notified until Thursday, allowing them and the schools to send out an alert almost 24 hours after the alleged incident.
“We never want to hide anything from anybody. But we don't want to freak them out, too. We just inform,” said Nixa School District spokesman Zac Rantz.
It’s the latest in a string of reports of attempted abductions in Nixa.
There was one back in August where a girl on a bike claimed two people tried to coax her into a vehicle. Then, last October two girls reported a guy tried to kidnap them.
“These don't seem to be related as far as the same person doing this one thing,” said Nixa Police Det. Jason Hartsell.
In the last 12 months, Nixa police say they have had four reports of strangers trying to take kids. By comparison, Springfield (eight times the size) had five reports, according to Springfield Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Cox.
“As far as an increase in reports, yes, we have had an increase in reports. Don't know if it's an increase in actual incidents,” said Hartsell.
Police say they don’t necessarily think there are more people trying to snatch kids. Instead, they believe moms and dads here are becoming more vigilant in reporting things.
“I think what we have done is we have done a really good job of educating our kids to report odd things, or they are approached by someone they don't know,” Rantz said.
Police say they investigate every report, and it's always better to be safe than sorry with things like this.
“I think our kids feel comfortable reporting things that don't make sense to them or things that seem odd, or people who approach them in an odd way. And they feel comfortable telling an adult about that and that's what we want them to do,” Rantz said.
Investigators say they have not been able to track down the perpetrator in the latest reported incident. No arrests have been made for any other case that’s happened this year.