• Police: Man used candy to try to lure 14-year-old girl into van


    GASTONIA - Gastonia police said a man tried to lure a child into his van Tuesday afternoon with candy.

    Police said the girl, 14, was shaking and could barely talk when she knocked on a neighbor’s door for help.

    The neighbor, Joe Buckley, told Channel 9’s Ken Lemon the van followed the school bus down West Poplar Street and stopped when the bus stopped near the girl’s home.

    He was wearing a mask and dark gloves.

    “Get him off the streets,” Buckley said.

    Buckley is angry about the attempted kidnapping of his frightened 13-year-old neighbor.

    “She was trembling,” he said.

    The girl said the men held out a purple bowl full of candy and offered it to her. Police believe he was trying to lure her into his vehicle.

    She immediately turned around and ran, and saw him drive off in a hurry.

    Buckley said she the girl ran into the door of her home, then came out the back door so the man would not see her leaving to get help.

    "She asked me yesterday, 'What do you think would have happened if he would have got ahold of me?'  I told her. 'We don't want to go into that detail,'" Buckley said.

    Police believe the man was trying to kidnap the girl.

    Police say the girl could tell the man was a white male. He was driving a black or dark blue Chevy Silverado with some gray mixed in. A work ladder was attached to the back of the truck.

    Police are working with the officers who track sex offenders to see if they know someone who drives a similar truck.

    “We want to know if he has done this before and if he has done anything like that since,” said Sgt. Gene Weaver in Gastonia Police Department.

    Police said people have spotted the truck driving around Hargrove Road where children are always playing and near Rhyne Elementary School.

    Both are close to where the girl was approached. Police warned school officials about this man.

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