Man attempts to lure Atascadero children into van

August 1, 2011

Local law enforcement officers are looking for a man who allegedly attempted to lure four Atascadero children into a van on Monday morning by offering them a ride.

Sporting a long grey beard and driving a red Volkswagen van with surfboards on the roof, the man allegedly said he was a retired police officer. He then offered to give the youths a ride if they ever needed one, although he said they would have to ask their parents first, police said.

He drove off after the children refused his offer and two adults came out of their home to see what was going on.

The children first noticed the car driving past the home on the 6100 block of Los Gatos Road with a teen or young man perched in the passenger seat. When the van drove back to the house, the man was no longer sitting in the front seat.

The Atascadero Police Department issued an alert to law enforcement agencies throughout San Luis Obispo County to be on the lookout for the vehicle and the man, police said. Anyone who may have seen this subject and/or his vehicle is urged to contact law enforcement.

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It could just as easily be a misunderstanding as a perv. What is more interesting than the story will be how quickly people jump on the archetypes created by media. “The creepy man in the van” motif is a real classic. But I seriously doubt that there is any greater percentage of pedophiles with vans than non-pedophiles. And really, not one among us has likely ever been shown such empirical evidence. And even if such evidence had been presented, so strong are these kinds of ideas in our head that every one of us will forever interpret interactions between adults and children differently based upon these carefully crafted myths. It makes it very easy to manipulate large populations of people. I’m not talking about some federal Orwellian manipulation. I’m talking about things like say… increasing the size of an agency and the money that it brings in (e.g. a police department), pass laws that benefit the agency and the people people running that agency, and making it constantly grow just like a business seeks to do, Screw with people’s heads enough and you can get them to buy anything.

I could be totally wrong, but it seems to me like an old man with a beard in a van with surfboards is probably just high on weed and being friendly to the kids. I talked to lots of strangers as a child. I didn’t grow up with a terribly great fear of the bogeyman, and thus learned that even people that acted unusual really never had any bad intentions towards me. Do we really want to send the police around for circumstances like this, creating an environment where people feel totally uncomfortable just treating children like human beings, much less just ask for something like the time? And if I am wrong, so what, nobody was hurt. We can’t keep going after people for what they MIGHT do, because then we can’t deal with all the people who ARE doing bad things and totally getting away with; like the people in Washington D.C. Are you really worried more about some slightly crazy aging surfer dude talking to your kid than you are about person who’s about to lie to you and send that kid off to kill people or get killed so Lockheed Martin can have a good quarter? Insanity, really.

Are you a parent? Cause I took this article to be a warning. Yes, it is too bad that we have to worry about these things. But who wants to take the chance of someone scooping up your kind into a van and you never seeing them again. People also need to know boundaries. We live in a world that isn’t always friendly and people should know that it probably isn’t the best thing to be offering rides to kids you don’t know. Just don’t sound good! Take it as a warning and watch your kids when they are outside. Thankfully those kids were taught well and said no.

Should be an easy one to spot. Hopefully someone finds him and calls it in so they can find out just what the heck this is about.

Wow! 2 thumbs up and 1 thumb down for my comment? There must be a pedophile among us!

Sometimes people hit the wrong button. It happens. And there’s no way to un-click one of the red or green buttons.

About the article…I’m bummed that the perv appears to be a surfer.