RCMP Cruiser Generic
(File photo)

Nanaimo RCMP are reminding the public of the importance of staying safe online, following a potentially dangerous child luring incident that took place last month.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on June 29th, two City of Nanaimo employees observed what they believed to be an inappropriate interaction between an older man and female between the age of 11 and 15 in progress at Robins Park in south Nanaimo.

According to the witnesses, who were prepping the baseball diamond for a game later that day, a man and young girl sitting very close together on the bleachers.

According to their body gestures, the workers determined they did not appear to have a father-daughter relationship and decided to report the situation to police.

When officers arrived, the young girl told the officer she was under the impression the man was 25-years-old and that she had met him through the online social media platform V-sing

The app allows users to record themselves while singing as well as a chat option and private message function. 

According to the young girl, the two had been communicating on a daily basis for the past 9 months through V-sing and FaceTime and were nothing more than good friends. 

Police spoke to the adult privately, confirming he was 53-years-old and had arrived in Nanaimo that day after travelling from his home town in a mid-western state of the USA. 

The man said he had booked into a local hotel for the next two days. 

According to officers, the man tried to unconvincingly tell them he and the young girl were just friends. 

However, when asked, he did not deny that his intentions could be seen as being sexual in nature.

With insufficient evidence at the time to detain him, the man was allowed to leave the scene, but was told to depart Nanaimo immediately and returned home. 

That evening, the Canada Border Security Agency confirmed that he had crossed the Canadian border.

“This investigation is being aggressively pursued by this detachment as well by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

“Investigators would also like to acknowledge the witnesses who provided such timely evidence. If it was not for their astute observations and phone call , this incident could have ended terribly for this young lady and her family.”

Here are some tips to consider when it comes to keeping kids safe online:

  • Try to engage them conversation about their online activity
  • Know who your children’s online friends are
  • Monitor what apps and websites that they are using and when
  • Do not allow cell phones, tablets or any electronic device in their bedrooms
  • Tell your children to keep their location settings private

For more online safety tips, visit the Canadian Child Prevention Centre.

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