An alleged luring incident reported this week was just a case of a concerned Summit resident trying to help. In a statement to residents sent out Thursday morning, Police Chief Robert Weck said there was "no harm intended" in the .
, two female middle school students told police that a stranger asked them if they needed a ride home on their way to school Jan. 10. The woman who pulled up to them was described as "a white female, 55-65 years old, 'with crazy style hair' and bright red lipstick."
According to police, that unnamed woman is a longtime resident and "an active volunteer within our community," according to the report. Detectives found out the identity of the driver after a New Jersey State Trooper artist came in to help draw a composite sketch. Police later contacted the woman.
"In speaking with her, she indicated that at no time did she mean to alarm or scare the young students or cause any panic among the city’s residents," said police.
In the statement, Weck explained the necessity for alerting residents when luring is reported:
Our department weighs the decision to publicize these types of suspicious incidents due to the Catch-22 scenario it triggers both in the schools, as well as in the community," Police Chief Robert Weck said in a statement. "On one hand, it gives the perception that there is an ongoing problem with “luring” incidents, and it also has the capability to become a “crying wolf” syndrome.
This was the second incident reported in about three weeks in Summit. "The Summit Police Department takes each and every incident seriously and investigates them with all of its resources, as we did in this case," said Weck in the alert that went out this morning. Weck commended the students and their parents for contacting authorities as soon as they did.
I am very proud of these two young students (and other young students who have been in these types of situation) for doing the right thing—they removed themselves from the perceived danger, notified an adult of the incident and remained calm and observant—a testament to the “danger stranger” education that our police, schools and parents teach them throughout their young lives." This incident hopefully encourages parents and guardians to sit down with their school-aged children and talk with them about what to do if they were put in a “danger stranger” type incident.
The Summit police department encourages the public to continue to report any similar incidents by calling 908-273-0051.