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Beware: Strangers with candy
Police say Southwest Decatur 8-year-old was target of possible abduction attempt by 2 men in car

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

Phone trees went into action and school officials sent out e-mails after two men failed to lure an 8-year-old boy into their car.

The message being passed along: Beware of strangers with candy.

A red Honda Civic pulled alongside the boy while he was out in his neighborhood, the Duncansby Drive area of Southwest Decatur, at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, said Decatur police spokesman Lt. Chris Mathews.

Mathews said a white male was behind the wheel and a black male sat in the passenger seat of the two-door car. Both men appeared to be in their late 20s to mid-30s.

"The driver offered the juvenile some candy. He turned it down and began to walk away, and they began to follow him in the vehicle," Mathews said.

Elizabeth Glasgow said she was in the sewing room over her garage, which overlooks Duncansby Drive, when the boy leapt off his bike and began running from the car.

"I saw the child running from Ashville Drive, turning the corner onto Duncansby with the red car behind him, and he looked like he was frantic," Glasgow said.

"It all caught my eye, because he kept looking at that red car. He was running and zigzagging. I saw he was running to the doors of several houses, but he never went up to the doors of any houses because he was so frantic. ... I've got grandchildren and all, and I knew that child was really in trouble when I saw him," said the 65-year-old.

Glasgow said her granddaughter and her granddaughter's boyfriend drove up about the time the boy ran past.

"When they pulled up, the guy in the red car stopped and then eased on past them. The little boy turned around and went back the way he came."

Glasgow called police while her granddaughter and granddaughter's boyfriend tried to follow the red Civic. They lost the car and went back to find the boy, who had run to another neighbor's house and asked for help.

No one ever caught up to the red Civic.

Police and school officials urged parents and children to be on the lookout for the vehicle. They said it had a spoiler and loud tailpipes.

Glasgow added that it had tinted windows and the red color was faded.

Phil Hastings, director of safety for Decatur City Schools, said he sent an e-mail letter to school administrators Thursday informing them of the incident.

His letter asks them to warn teachers and remind students of the dangers of unknown individuals approaching them.

Hastings' letter describes the vehicle and asks them to call the police if they see it.

"It's not a hard vehicle to recognize. It's a custom-built car with loud pipes," he said.

Police said they do not believe Wednesday's incident was connected to two earlier incidents in which a white male in a red car tried to pick up juveniles in a neighborhood of Southeast Decatur.

"We think it's a different person," Mathews said.

On both occasions, in late December and early January, the juveniles refused when the man offered them a ride and then offered them the use of his cell phone.

Glasgow said the incidents put her in fear for her 9-year-old grandson.

"With the sightings over in Southeast Decatur and now this, I really feel like everybody needs to be on alert," she said.

Anyone with information about the vehicle or its occupants can contact the Decatur police tip line at 341-INFO (4636).

Staff Writer Bayne Hughes contributed to this report.

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