Young girl confronted by stranger prompts alert in Gardner neighborhood

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GARDNER, Kan. -- A 10-year-old girl is being praised for her bravery in the middle of a scary situation. Thursday, she went to check the mail and when she turned around, a man was standing right in front of her.

The incident happened in the area of 171st and Osage and the entire subdivision is now on alert.

“We immediately asked patrol to heighten presence in the neighborhood,” Sergeant Steve Benz with the Gardner Police Department said.

But that's not all, Sgt. Benz says detectives have been chasing down leads for the past several days. The man scared the 10-year-old just feet from her front door.

“He had something in his hand, and she believed it could be a weapon,” Sgt. Benz said.

The girl told police the man kept asking her name, but she didn't tell him, and the second he looked away she ran.

“She did absolutely the right thing. Parents obviously instilled the wherewithal to watch out for stranger danger,” Sgt. Benz explained. “She knew she didn’t know the person, so as soon as she had the opportunity she made quick bee line back into her home and told an adult.”

The girl’s family called police and they're giving the case top priority. In the meantime, Sgt. Benz says parents should just keep doing what they always do; keep an eye on the kids and be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

“Just be vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, if there is someone in area you don’t recognize, it's certainly okay to call 911,” he said.

Police are especially interested in the man who approached the girl, and his description is very detailed.

“White male who is approximately 6 foot 2. He has long, white-gray beard, at the time he was wearing a bright-colored hat, tan jacket, blue jeans and what sounded like combat boots,” Sgt. Benz said.

He drove off in extended cab pickup truck with a camper shell on the back. If you can help police find or identify him call Gardner police or the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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