Anchorage police say reports about suspicious people approaching children in Chugiak are unrelated and no crimes were committed.
Police received two reports this week about someone approaching children near Loretta French Park in Chugiak and acting suspiciously, said Lt. Shaun Henry, commander of the Crimes Against Children Unit at the Anchorage Police Department.
The two people weren’t the same person, though, and it doesn’t appear either one committed a crime, he said.
Henry said he wasn’t able to provide the details of the interactions, though at least two social media posts about the apparent interactions have been circulating on social media.
One Facebook post claims that a man in a red SUV pulled alongside a young girl as she was walking home from school along Sue Tawn Drive and asked her “where she lived and if she wanted a ride home.”
Accusations began to fly on social media when someone else posted a photo, which has since been deleted, that they claimed showed the same man approaching children again.
That second man had actually been approaching people, including children, looking for his legitimately lost dog, Henry said.
“It was just something that was taken out of context or misconstrued,” he said.
When police investigated, though, they found that the two men were not the same person. They never contacted the first suspicious person, though Henry said detectives worked full time to follow up on all the leads they could, "ran them into the ground and discovered no crimes occurred.”
Henry said that while no threat was found in this case, the reported incidents are a good reminder for parents to start discussing personal safety with children, especially with summer approaching.
“It’s a good time for kids to sit down with their parents and families and have these conversations,” he said.
Police advise children who spend time outside to avoid talking to and getting into cars with strangers, and to spend time in well-lit areas and walk in groups.