Who is this? Port Townsend police release sketch of man suspected of child luring
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“The best way to catch him is if he keeps doing it,” said police spokesman Luke Bogues. “When criminals commit crimes, they make mistakes, and then they get caught.
“But by letting him know that we have increased patrols in the area, we decrease the chances of catching him,” he added.
However, the police work may prevent another incident, he said.
“If the increased patrol and the investigation scares him away, then that's what we want because the last thing any parent wants is for their child to be victimized,” Bogues said.
Two 11-year-old students reported separate instances of being approached by a man as they rode their bicycles to Blue Heron Middle School.
A man in a white van offered candy to a boy Oct. 2 and told a girl Oct. 9 that her mother wanted him to give her a ride to school.
The boy turned down the candy and took off, and the girl asked the man her mother's name; when he couldn't tell her, she fled.
The two reports were of incidences a week apart — both Wednesdays and both at about 8 a.m.
Since publicity about the reports, no others have been reported.
The sketch was gleaned from the description by the first of the two students, sixth-grader Ashton Hoye, whom police did not identify to the Peninsula Daily News but whose mother did.
King County Sheriff's Office Detective Robin Fry, a sketch artist, came to Port Townsend, met with the boy Oct. 14 and created the sketch in about two hours, said Ashton's mother, Shannon Callahan, who had contacted the PDN a few days after the incident.
On Friday, Bogues said the sketch was not shown to the other student who was approached because she said she would not be able to recognize the man.
“I've been following this, and there seems to be a lot of these cases,” Callahan said, referring to the larger area of Puget Sound and surrounding region.
“I'm wondering if this happens all the time or whether I'm just more aware because it happened to my family.”
Callahan said police are scheduled to interview her son again Friday afternoon.
She said Ashton remembered a key detail, a plugged ear, during the sketch artist interview.
After the session, Callahan asked Ashton how he felt about the sketch.
He answered, “That's the man,” she said.
The boy said the man who offered him candy on a trail near Haines and 33nd streets had scruffy white facial hair, a gauged plug-style earring in his right ear and was missing his front teeth, Bogues said.
The man wore a blue baseball cap with a green Oakland Athletics logo and a dirty white T-shirt and dirty blue jeans, the boy said, and was driving a white full-size van that had no windows.
The second report of luring was on San Juan Avenue about six blocks south of the middle school at 3939 San Juan Ave.
The girl, whom police did not identify, described a white van pulling into the bicycle lane and stopping, blocking her path.
She said the white van had three windows down the side and two on the back doors.
She said the windows were hard to look through, possibly because of obstructions inside.
The man appeared to be in his 50s, according to the girl. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt low over his face. He had no visible facial hair but had a pierced nose.
Despite some discrepancies in the descriptions, the incidents are being investigated as related. Police think both child-luring attempts were by the same man.
Local detectives and officers have followed up on dozens of tips called in by citizens and other law enforcement agencies since the reports were made, Bogues said.
The sketch was used to compare against a man believed to be a person of interest, but the man was interviewed Oct. 24 and is no longer thought to be connected to the case, Bogues said.
Officers have increased patrols in the area of Blue Heron and other locations where juveniles gather, he said.
Investigators are asking members the public to examine the police sketch closely.
If the man looks familiar, reports can be made by phoning Detective Devin McBride at 360-390-8938.
If a suspicious person or van is spotted in the area of children, dial 9-1-1, Bogues said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 email@example.com.
Last modified: October 26. 2013 6:14PM