SANTEE, Calif. – Santee parents are having serious conversations with their kids as authorities search for a man who followed a 16-year-old boy and tried to lure him to his van this week.
It happened Tuesday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. near the trolley station off Town Center Parkway. The boy was riding his bike from Mast Park on Carlton Hills Boulevard when he says he noticed a white van following him.
The unidentified teen ignored the driver, but says he continued following him to the Santee Town Center trolley station. That’s when the driver stopped in front of the boy and waved his hand for him to get into the van. The teen got away unharmed.
Police described the man as Middle Eastern and in his 40s, with an average build, black short hair and a mustache. The van is described as a late 1990s Ford Econoline, with tinted windows and beige curtains in the back.
FOX 5 spoke to parents Sarah Rothermel and Kayleigh Kidwell, who are part of a moms group that meets at Mast Park each week. They said teaching their young kids how to respond to strangers is a top priority.
“I always told her, ‘I don’t care if you make a scene, if you think you’re in danger — even if it’s someone that we know, if you feel unsafe — you be as loud as you want,” Kidwell said.