Alleged abduction attempt a wake up call for parents

THE parents of a boy at the centre of an alleged attempted abduction at Thulimbah are relieved their child had the smarts to refuse offers for a lift.

Luke Fairbank's 12-year-old son was approached by a man in a faded grey sedan when walking along Granite Belt Dr at Thulimbah late last month.

The man asked the boy three times to get into the vehicle, which the boy refused.

Mr Fairbank told the Border Post he wanted to be identified and speak out about the frightening incident in hope it may save another chiild from becoming a victim.

Amazingly, the boy's father said he didn't learn of the abduction attempt until the following day.

"My son just said 'some old guy tried to give me a lift yesterday'," he said.

"I said 'You're kidding, why didn't you tell me straight away?'

"Kids don't realise unless they feel like they're threatened."

Mr Fairbank said they never felt this could be a threat in Thulimbah and wanted to warn other parents about the potential dangers their children could face.

"We've been here since I was 18 and we've had five children here," he said.

"You wouldn't think it could happen here. It just proves it can happen anywhere.

"From now on we watch them walk to the bus stop or drive them. I have three little girls playing outside, but now I make sure they don't play out the front."

The boy described the man as being between 60 and 70 years old, with grey, balding hair, stubble and "ugly teeth" like he was a smoker.

Mr Fairbank said his family had always taught their children about stranger danger from a very early age.

He says now the family will introduce a password system with friends and family to signal when it is safe for the kids to accept a lift.

"We've never had anything like this happen before, but it made us stop and think how precious our little ones are," he said.

"They can be so vulnerable."

Officer in charge of Stanthorpe Police Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said police warned parents to remain vigilant but shouldn't be alarmed by this incident.

"We do have a possible suspect," he said.

"We can keep an eye on them but at this stage the man in question hasn't committed any offence."

Snr Sgt Ireland said the best way to promote stranger danger was for parents and kids to talk openly about the issue.

"We've made the schools aware of the incident and their presentations on stranger danger are the best action to take," he said.

"But this is an issue best discussed between parents and their kids."

Educational programs like the one run by Sunshine Coast parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe also teach children the significance of child safety.

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation was established after their 12-year-old son Daniel was abducted and murdered in 2003.

The Morcombes recently released an iPhone app for school-aged children including a "help me" button that sends warning SMSs to two nominated safety numbers.

Visit www.danielmorcombe.com.au for more information on safety.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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