Two City of Nanaimo employees with a keen sense of awareness are being credited with interrupting a potentially dangerous child luring incident, that involved a man in his 50s and a female youth between the ages of 11and15. The incident occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday June 29, 2022, at Robins Park in south Nanaimo.
The two witnesses told police they were prepping the baseball diamond for game that night when they first caught site of the man and girl. The witnesses said that the two were siting very close to each other in the bleachers and by their interactions and body gestures, it did not appear that it was a father-daughter relationship. After watching them interact for some time the witnesses decided they needed to report what they observed to the police.
When officers arrived, the young lady told the officer that she was under the impression her male friend was 25 years old She also said that she met him through an online social media platform called V-sing, which allows users to record themselves while singing. It also has a chat option and private message function. The youth said she had been communicating with the man for the past nine months through V-sing as well as face timing on a daily basis using her personal cell phone. She said the two of them were nothing more than good friends. The adult was spoken to privately. His true age was confirmed to be 53 and that he had arrived in Nanaimo that day after travelling from his home in a mid-western state of the US. He told officers he was booked into a local hotel for the next two days.
The individual tried unconvincingly to tell the officer that he and the girl were just friends. When asked, he did not deny that his intentions could be seen as being sexual in nature. As there was insufficient evidence at the time to detain him, the man was allowed to leave. He was told to depart Nanaimo immediately and return to his home in the United States. That evening, the Canada Border Security Agency confirmed that he had crossed the Canadian border and had returned to the USA.
This investigation is being aggressively pursued by this detachment as well by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States. Investigators would also like to acknowledge the witnesses who provided such timely evidence. If it was not for their astute observations and phone call, this incident could have ended terribly for this young lady and her family, said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
The following are some points to consider when it comes to keeping our kids safe online:
- Try to engage them conversation about their online activity
- Know who your children’s online friends are
- Monitor what apps and websites that they are using and when
- Do not allow cell phones, tablets or any electronic device in their bedrooms
- Tell your children to keep their location settings private
For more online safety tips, log into the Canadian Child Prevention Centre at https://www.protectchildren.ca/en/