Gilbert neighborhood on edge after man tried to lure young girl into his van

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 17:23:15-04

A Gilbert neighborhood is shaken up after a man tried to lure a little girl into his van in broad daylight. 

It happened in the Highland Ranch community near Power and Guadalupe.  

It’s an area located between parks, schools, and several recreation areas with basketball hoops.  

“It’s family neighborhoods, kids everywhere, all the time,” said community member Julie Ferrin. 

And it’s that environment that some fear may have caused them to become a target of a child predator. 

“His strategy was to lure her in with ice cream and puppy dogs, and try to get a young girl to say 'ya I’m coming with you,'” said Jesse, who has been spreading the word since it happened. 

Jesse, who only wanted to provide his first name, said the run-in happened right outside his home. 

He said a man driving a white Caravan approached a young girl Wednesday offering everything a child could desire. 

“I’m just happy that whoever her parent was had the mindset to tell her kid, do not ever let that happen to you,” said Jesse. 

The little girl told the man no and attempted to ride away on her bike. 

“He tried to force her, veer her off but she was still able to make it out,” said Jesse. 

“Apparently people have spotted the van around the area the last couple weeks,” said Ferrin. 

A Facebook post about the incident quickly spread throughout the quiet community, igniting fears and thoughts of, "what if?" 

“It makes you think twice about putting your kids on a bicycle to go down to grandmas house down the street,” said Jesse. 

The child's family provided a description of the man as older with a grey beard down to his chest, and a tattoo under his shirt. 

“It’s absolutely disgusting, and that type of person definitely needs to be caught,” said Jesse.

Jesse says the white van had a large dent on the driver side door and no license plate. 

The neighborhood is encouraged to stay vigilant as Gilbert Police continue to look into the situation.