Phoenix police have stepped up patrols around Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School in Ahwatukee Foothills after a fourth-grader skateboarding to school Aug. 11 reported that a man tried to get him into his car.
"We take this very seriously. If anyone is aware of anything or sees anything suspicious, please call us," said Lt. Mark Tallman with the Phoenix Police Department.
Erica Kreiner said her 9-year-old son was skateboarding from his home to school by himself when a car pulled up and a man got out, according to the boy's account. The incident happened on Frye Road between 44th and 46th streets, she said.
The man proceeded to put his hand on his shoulder and began pulling him toward the car, Kreiner said.
The boy said he hit the man in the head with his skateboard and ran away, she said. He reported the incident to a teacher at the school.
"His friend's dad had taught him some self defense," Kreiner said.
Trent Crump, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman, said the boy described the man as a white male between 30 and 40 years old, with a balding head of brown hair and a goatee. The man is reported to be between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet tall, and 160 to 180 pounds. The man's vehicle is described as being a silver or gray older model sedan.
Police have not received any other reports of similar incidents in the area, Crump said.
"At this time, we don't have anything to corroborate (Wright's account), nor do we have any witnesses," Crump said.
School principal James Verrill sent a letter home with students Thursday warning families about the incident.
"Whenever things like this occur, it's always a good time to remind our students about stranger danger," said Kelly Alexander, Kyrene School District spokeswoman.
Crump said it's safer for children to travel to school in groups.
"Strength always comes in numbers," he said.