North Ridgeville police stress importance of ‘code word’ after reported attempted abduction

**Update from North Ridgeville police on Facebook: We have located the vehicle in the photo and interviewed the driver. He was NOT involved in this incident.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — The North Ridgeville Police Department on Saturday said it’s investigating the reported attempted abduction of a little girl.

According to a post on the police department’s Facebook page, on Friday at around 2:35 p.m., police took a complaint from the parent of a third-grade student about a possible criminal child enticement and attempted abduction. It reportedly happened on the north end of Ridgeview Blvd. near Elder St.

The little girl said that right after she got off the school bus, she was approached by an older man in a dark-colored sedan. She said the man tried to entice her into his car.

She refused; however, the girl told police the man was persistent and claimed to be the child’s grandfather.

Police said the girl continued to refuse and made it to her babysitter’s home where she told her babysitter about the incident.  The student’s account of what happened was corroborated by another student who saw the incident, police said.

The male suspect left in his vehicle southbound on Ridgeview toward Drake St. He’s described as being elderly. The student described him as a “grandpa” with grey or white hair.

Police released a photo of what they say could “possibly” be the vehicle. They said the bus driver and student both stated they believe it is the one involved.

Police are asking the public to be observant and vigilant during bus pick-up and drop-off times, as well as anytime kids are outside. 

North Ridgeville police also provided this important information:

“This is a good time to talk to your children about stranger danger, and reviewing with them what to do in case this should happen again. Consider a “code word” which is only known by you, your children, and anyone authorized to pick them up. If they don’t know the code word then your child treats it as someone trying to take them. It’s important to note that this is not a time for conversation. I taught my daughter that if that word isn’t spoken in the opening line, they don’t know it and to run.”

Police said this incident is currently being treated as an attempted abduction. 

Any information can be forwarded to Sgt. Matt Gorski at 440-327-2191.