Woodland police say man attempted to grab child near elementary school

Data pix.

WOODLAND, Calif. (KTXL) -- The Woodland Police Department is looking for a man who they say grabbed a student as the child was walking home from Freeman Elementary School.

On Tuesday, police say a man with red hair was driving a green or blue-green van when he approached the student.

The student was walking on the south sidewalk of West Woodland Avenue when the man grabbed the child.

Sgt. Dallas Hyde says the child was able to free their arm from the grip of the stranger and run to safety.

“It’s scary, of course, to think someone’s out there and actually made physical contact with the child,” Hyde said.

A similar incident occurred on Oct. 23, according to police. They also believe the same van was spotted around some children in the area.

Resident Gloria Valencia said the incident stirred up scary memories for her. A similar incident happened 10 years ago as she picked up her granddaughter from school.

Valencia said she yelled at the person and told them to leave her granddaughter alone. According to Valencia, the person said they were just offering candy to the child.

Now, she picks up her great-grandchildren from school and said she’ll be diligent about making them aware of strangers.

Police hope parents also talk with their kids to ensure that they’re ready for anything.

“If something like this does happen, like this student did and very luckily so, ran to safety. Run to somebody that you know. Run back to school,” Hyde said.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.