GILBERT, AZ - Gilbert police are investigating after a 12-year-old girl said a man driving a white utility van tried to kidnap her.
The girl was reportedly walking along Williams Field Road near Lindsay Road on Thursday when the man said her mother had an emergency and asked him to pick her up. The girl asked the man for a code word, and when he couldn't provide it, she ran away.
"We talked about what happened and why what that girl did was so smart," Sheri Skousen, who lives nearby and has a 10-year-old daughter, told ABC15.
"It just kind of makes you refocus and retrain your kids that this is what we need to do to be safe," she said.
Skousen said she and her daughter similarly set a code word to use in situations where someone else may be picking her up.
Gilbert police Sgt. Darrell Krueger called the girl's actions "fantastic." He said the department is working with schools to implement a similar method for student pickups.
Investigators are talking with the girl to get a better description of the suspect so they can release a sketch, he said.