Latest report from Scappoose student involves a van with a red stripe

by: FILE PHOTO - Scappoose police have increased patrols around schools where students have reported abduction attempts, the latest coming from a Grant Watts Elementary School student.The Scappoose Police Department reported more suspicious activity related to a potential abduction attempt upon a Grant Watts Elementary School student.

While previous reports from students described a red car, low to the ground with a broken rear windshield, a Tuesday, May 13, report described a van with a red stripe. No dominant color was specified for the van, according to police.

Scappoose Police Lt. Norm Miller reported two men in a van on May 13 allegedly pulled up to a bus stop on the corner of SW EM Watts Road and SW 4th Street in Scappoose and opened the passenger door to the vehicle in front of a third-grade Grant Watts Elementary student, who then ran away.

Scappoose School District Superintendent Stephen Jupe said police didn’t consider the incident a viable threat and, in turn, Jupe released no statement to the community. That decision, he said, was based on the fact the district has released statements regarding reports of previously alleged abduction attempts, which suggested parents coach their children to be cautious and avoid contact with strangers.

“That would make three [reports] already in the last couple weeks. In the end you get a numbing factor,” Jupe said, adding that, should legitimate forces threaten student safety, he wants such reports to be taken seriously.

The Scappoose Police Department is taking the reports seriously, Miller said.

On April 28, a sixth-grade Otto Petersen Elementary School student notified the Scappoose Police Department of an abduction attempt during the student’s walk home from school. Two Otto Petersen Elementary students and one Grant Watts Elementary student were also allegedly targeted by men who reportedly asked the students to enter their car April 23 and April 24, according to a letter to district parents from Jupe.

At the time of the initial alleged abduction attempts, Jupe said that while only students — no school staff or police officers — had seen the car, he is still focused on the safety of the district’s children.

“I’m really interested in the safety of the kids, but I’m getting a bit concerned that we’re reporting on something that’s really unseen at the moment,” he said at the time. “We’ll keep looking and keeping the kids alert.”

Miller said the police department has increased patrols around school zones.

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