COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Recent reports of a child predator lurking in a Columbus neighborhood aren't sitting too well with parents who live on Mustang Drive near the airport.
News Leader 9 first reported this scary incident Sunday. A man was seen trying to use his puppy to entice a 9-year-old girl into his car.
This was a close call for the 9-year-old girl Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, she is safe...but, it is definitely serving as a wake up call for parents of a seemingly quiet neighborhood.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says it recovered more than 190,000 children last year in the U.S.
It's a startling statistic for mother of two, Benessa Austin.
"I tell them when they get off the bus, if they have to walk home and someone tries that on them, to scream," Austin said.
Austin doesn't live in the Tanglewood subdivision off Airport Thruway where a 9-year-old girl was approached by a man Saturday around 3:30 p.m., but her sister does live there and her teen girls spend a lot of time with their aunt.
"I have nieces too and they are younger and we will talk more about it and come up with a plan to keep them safe, "stated Austin.
Kendra Favors lives next door to Austin's sister. She offers some advice for her neighbors.
"People who are in this neighborhood start keeping a watch. There are more children in this neighborhood than we see and stick together and ban together so if something were to happen, we can relay proper information to each other.
We're told the man told the girl that his puppy that was inside the car with him saw her riding his bike and was wagging his tail. Her two friends came up and that's when the man drove away in a red convertible. Police are still trying to retrace his steps.