Arrests Made Following Reports Of Child Enticement In Southwest Columbus
10TV did not identify the two sisters in this story for their safety.
Two young girls are lured on their way to school. It happened in southwest Columbus and it wasn’t' the first time.
"My nana had told me to keep my eyes open because there was a freak going around," said one of the girls.
So as the two sisters walked down the street to the bus stop, they were alert.
"It was about like 8:34 and we were walking to the bus stop and this guy came around the corner and he just, like, slowly went by," recalled her sister.
"I was halfway up to the bus stop and this white van came around the corner and like he looked at us and I said ‘come on!’. And then he said, ‘come here’ and we just started running."
The sisters say they ran to a neighbor’s house next door.
That neighbor, Carolyn German, tells 10TV she knew something was wrong in one glance at the distraught girls. "The girls come to my door. Beat on my door. I opened the door. They were both crying and upset. I brought them in and called 911 right away."
Police sped to the area and stopped a white van on Alkire Road. Officers said at least four other young girls described being lured by men in a matching van in the same area recently. The southwest school district even sent an alert home to parents last Monday.
After several reports of child enticements on the roadway, authorities began doing special patrols in the area. When the two girls reported being approached, police were nearby and a quick arrest was made.
With two suspects in police custody, neighbors say they're breathing a little easier. But the two young girls and Carolyn say they're not letting their guard down. "Very frightening, cause there's a lot of kids in this neighborhood."
Columbus police tell 10TV the two men taken into custody will not be charged in this case. They were taken into custody and questioned by police Friday morning. A Columbus police spokesperson said they will not be charged in connection with the case because telling a child to, “come here,” doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense.
Police said had the men bribed or threatened the girls, they could have been charged with a crime. The men remain in custody. Police said they are in the country illegally and are being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and will likely be deported.
The driver will be charged with driving with an operator’s license. Police said the passenger in the vehicle has been deported before, and is a felon with a history or alien smuggling and trafficking.