Renton police warn of possible luring suspect

A suspect allegedly attempted to lure two girls into his vehicle on separate occasions this month.

Renton police have warned the community regarding a potential luring suspect in the Renton Highlands area.

The police department received reports of two potential luring attempts in May, both along Northeast 4th Street, on Edmonds Avenue Northeast and Northeast 4th Street on May 15, and in the 400 block of Monroe Avenue Northeast on May 23.

Witness descriptions provided to Renton police described the suspect as a Black man with short black hair, according to a news release from the department. In the first incident, parties described the suspect as middle-aged, wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt and driving in a white Ford sedan with tinted windows. In the second incident, parties described the suspect as potentially in his late 20s, wearing a mask and driving in a light gray/silver sedan with a broken right-side rear passenger window.

As of May 24, police have not identified a connection between the two cases.

“At this time, it is unknown if these cases are related, but the description of the suspect and his vehicle are similar enough to believe they could be,” the news release states.

Sandra Havlik, public information officer for the Renton Police Department, said the department felt compelled to warn the community.

“This does not occur often, … especially hearing of two within one week and about one mile from each other,” Havlik said in an email.

Police have requested information and video surveillance from the public regarding both incidents.

“Our main ask is … if anyone (has) video surveillance of these dates (and) times — and maybe captured the suspect (and) suspect vehicle — that they (could) share with us,” Havlik said in the email.

Havlik said the department wants to use any video captured to compare cases and see whether a connection exists.

As of May 24, police have no suspect nor vehicle photo.

First incident

On May 15, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30, a school bus dropped a girl, who is a student from McKnight Middle School, and her friend in the area of Edmonds Avenue Northeast. After hanging out, the girl’s friend left and a white Ford sedan approached her.

A middle-aged man allegedly asked the girl whether she wanted a ride and asked her to enter the vehicle, according to the news release. The girl started walking home and realized the vehicle continued to follow her. The suspect stopped again and asked whether she “was sure she didn’t want a ride.”

According to the news release, the suspect stated, “if you get in, I can give you a ride wherever you want.”

The girl decided to head to a friend’s house, nearer to her than home and knocked on the entrance. The suspect vehicle fled the area after the girl started knocking, according to the news release.

Police notified the school and bus driver of the incident.

Second incident

Renton police received a report from a parent on May 23 at 6:23 a.m. regarding a suspicious subject in a vehicle that approached her daughter in the 400 block of Monroe Avenue Northeast as she walked to her bus stop that morning and asked her whether she needed a ride.

According to the news release, the parent said her daughter declined and the driver allegedly followed her, asking for directions to the freeway. The daughter called her mother and the mother responded to meet her and walk her to the bus stop.

The vehicle fled after the mother saw the vehicle.

Safety tips

The Renton Police Department recommended the community to share information with children, keep an eye out for anything suspicious, and call 911 if needed.

If you’re approached by strangers and asked to take a ride or asked for assistance — like to help find a dog — and you do not know them or something seems off, get away from the area as quickly as possible and call 911 or someone for help,” Havlik said.

“In one of the cases we noted, the young lady knew of a friend’s house nearby and was able to go there,” Havlik said. “If this is near a business or school (or in) some area with lots of people, … go there, alert someone and stay there until police or family can come.”