Two stranger danger incidents in close proximity put Northland neighbors on alert

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Parents in a Northland neighborhood are on alert after neighbors say a stranger tried to lure two children into his van. Neighbors told police on Wednesday that a man tried to follow a little girl who was riding her bike.

They add that the same man approached a 13-year-old boy outside the child's home. Both incidents happened near Northeast 53rd and North Mersington. Those two kids are safe and the boy's mother says her son was playing outside their home when that stranger tried to convince the boy to go with him.

Sara Greenough says Wednesday afternoon started out as a normal, fun day for her son.

"He was outside playing basketball," she said.

Within moments, Greenough says a man her son had never seen before pulled up to him in a van as if he was looking for a lost dog.

“The gentleman raised his voice said, ‘hey, could you come over here. Have you seen a service dog?’" the mom said.

The eighth grade boy immediately stopped playing basketball.

"Ashton just shook his head 'no' and put his hand on the doorknob and went inside and went straight to tell me," Greenough said.

The boy wasn't hurt in any way.

"It was right after school, so it was quite quick," Greenough said.

What's more is that around the same time another mom, waiting for her kids to get off their school bus, told police she saw the same stranger following a little girl who was riding her bike on Mersington.

Neighbor Lenny Disanto called 911 to report both incidents.

“And she saw how strange it was. It was like creepy, she obviously knew something was wrong,” Disanto told FOX 4’s Robert Townsend. “We need to help each other. Protect you know? Protect our kids.”

The girl also wasn't harmed.

Greenough told police that the man who approached her son is white, possibly between 40 and 50 years old, and she says he has dark brown hair and scruffy hair on his face.

FOX 4 is also told the stranger drove a light blue mini-van when he approached the two children.

“We're in a community with quite a few kids," Greenough said.

She says years ago she taught her son to always be aware of strangers and never get into a car with anyone he doesn't know. They are safety tips she's convinced helped protect her child two days ago.

"He's a really good kid. I'm so relieved he listened because I don't know what would have happened, you know, if we lost our baby," the mom said.

Police want to remind parents that if something like this happens to your child, immediately call police and make sure you file a report.