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‘Be vigilant’: Dad’s warning to parents after man tries to lure daughters with candy

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Jan 2023, 12:47pm
A Christchurch father has warned parents to stay alert after his daughters were targeted by a man, who asked for cigarettes before asking them to follow to “get candy”. Photo / NZME
A Christchurch father has warned parents to stay alert after his daughters were targeted by a man, who asked for cigarettes before asking them to follow to “get candy”. Photo / NZME

‘Be vigilant’: Dad’s warning to parents after man tries to lure daughters with candy

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Jan 2023, 12:47pm

A Christchurch father has warned parents to stay alert after his daughters were targeted by a man, who asked for cigarettes before asking them to follow to “get candy”.

Local police ended up involved in the matter, however, they told the Herald the person involved was not charged.

It was on Tuesday evening that Burnside resident, Andrew Hertig was in the kitchen - supervising his two daughters as they played and read on the front porch.

Hertig said a man sitting at a bus stop on their street, Kendal Ave, asked if the girls had cigarettes and a lighter.

As the daughters ran into the house, the man followed them inside and, according to Hertig, called out to them saying “you guys should follow me to get some candy”.

“He didn’t realise I was just around the corner,” Hertig said.

“When he saw me, he kept saying ‘I’m just waiting for the bus’, but I knew exactly what he said.”

Hertig said a man sitting at a bus stop on their street, Kendal Ave asked if the girls had cigarettes and a lighter. Photo / NZME

Hertig said a man sitting at a bus stop on their street, Kendal Ave asked if the girls had cigarettes and a lighter. Photo / NZME

As Hertig started recording the situation, the man slapped the phone out of his hand and ran away.

The Christchurch man then gave chase as the offender jumped multiple fences to escape.

“I was on the phone with the police and they told me there was a dog handler in the area and to stop, so I turned back. Three minutes later, he was apprehended - I think he was hiding under a car.”

Hertig was told by arresting officers the man had past convictions and was being booked.

According to a police spokesperson, officers verified the cigarette request but claimed there were “no sinister intentions”.

The man in question has not been charged, and was taken into custody on an unrelated matter.

Tuesday’s incident has concerned Hertig, who believes the man posed a threat of abducting his daughters if they hadn’t responded maturely to the situation.

“Child abduction and kidnapping is something not talked about enough as it’s quite intimidating.”

As the father of two daughters aged three and six years old, Hertig said he and his wife have had numerous conversations with his daughters about ‘stranger danger’.

“It’s so important we let people know this is happening in our communities, we need to protect our children as it can happen anywhere,” he said.

“You need to take precautions, vigilance is key.”

According to a police spokesperson, officers verified the cigarette request but claimed the man had “no sinister intentions”. Photo / Wayne Drought

According to a police spokesperson, officers verified the cigarette request but claimed the man had “no sinister intentions”. Photo / Wayne Drought

Stories of attempted child abduction have concerned Christchurch communities recently.

In Rolleston a man approached a 14-year-old girl at a Guy Fawkes event and tried to drag her away.

The girl managed to pull away and screamed as she ran to the business tents.

It’s incidents such as these which have Hertig calling for better access to information about people in Christchurch with a history of child offending.

A long-term resident of Kendal Ave, the street has several Kāinga Ora homes - one of which Hertig lives in with his family after he broke his back in 2011.

Hailing from Texas in the United States, he wants New Zealand to replicate a similar system to the American National Pedophile registry - allowing publicly available information on child offenders and where they reside.

“In low-income areas like we’re in, it would be nice to be aware if any people in these homes, provided by the Government, if they’re a registered offender,” he said.

“There’s no national database where you can look up and know this person lives here, that person lives there. There’s nothing of the sort.”

A Child Sex Offender Register was established in September 2016, however, the public does not have access to the information held on the register.

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