Police search for driver who accosted young girl
Oak Bluffs police want to question a man who reportedly asked a 14-year-old Edgartown girl walking on Alpine Avenue to get into his car. The girl ran from the car and called her mother on a cell phone and the mother called 911. Police investigating the matter call it a "suspicious incident."
According to Oak Bluffs police officer Michael Marchand, the young girl was walking along Alpine Avenue when a man drove up in a car, told the girl he needed directions, and told her to get into his car.
Officer Marchand said the girl was able to provide a very good description of the driver and his vehicle, and police issued an Island-wide alert.
Officer Marchand said the man was described as of Brazilian nationality, about 40 years of age, with a noticeable gap between his front teeth and wavy brown hair. He was driving a small bluish-green Chevrolet approximately 10 years old with no visible markings or stickers.
Asked if there was a possibility it was all a misunderstanding, Officer Marchand said, "We are calling it a suspicious incident at this time, and we want to find out what that person's intent was."
He stopped short of calling it an abduction attempt. "We are not characterizing it as that, but certainly people should know that it happened, and if there was any similar incident, we certainly want to know about it at the police station."
The girl and her mother both spoke to The Times but requested that their names not be used. Due to the girl's age and the frightening nature of the incident, The Times agreed to their request.
The girl had left a friend's house and was walking down Alpine Avenue by herself to a bus stop. She said a car came up behind her quickly and stopped close to her. She said the man leaned over from the driver's side of the car and partially opened the passenger side door and told her to get in the car so she could give him directions.
"He started opening it and then I shut it and then he did it again, he said get in the car and I said no, and shut it again," she said. She ran off into a wooded area to hide and said she saw the car drive by several times apparently looking for her.
The young girl said the whole experience was very scary. "It was just like all of a sudden it just happened," she said.
She said she is still nervous walking around. "I don't know, it just feels uncomfortable," she said.
Yesterday, the girl's mother said she did her best to keep her daughter calm when she received the call. Her daughter went to a bus stop in front of the Oak Bluffs fire department where a police officer on a motorcycle soon arrived.
"She was calm when I got there," said the mother. "The wonderful thing is that we were able to be in contact because of the cell phone."
The mother said that the fact that her daughter was approached in broad daylight in a populated neighborhood was very frightening. "I guess you just have be aware wherever you are," she said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call 508-693-0750 and ask to speak with officer Marchand or Detective Nicholas Curelli at the Oak Bluffs Police Department.