School on alert after abduction attempt

7:28 pm on 6 July 2016

Ngaio School in Wellington is beefing up its security as police continue to search for a man who tried to abduct one of its pupils.

06072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Ngaio School. An attempt was made to grab Ngaio student walking home from school.

Ngaio School (file) Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Police said an eight-year-old boy was grabbed by the man while walking home from the school, just after 3pm on Monday.

The abduction attempt took place on Awarua Street near the intersection with Ottawa Road, the main route through Ngaio to Khandallah and Crofton Downs.

The man was driving a black car, which approached the child from the front and pulled up on the yellow lines at the curb, before the man reached over and grabbed him from the passenger door of the vehicle, police said.

He tried to pull the child into the car but the boy managed to wriggle free and run away, they said.

The man ran after the child then stopped at the overbridge, went back to his vehicle and drove off.

Police described him as Caucasian, 'old-looking' and bald with a long white beard.

Ngaio School principal Liz Millar said she told parents about the incident yesterday.

06072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Awarua St where an attempt was made to grab Ngaio student walking home from school.

The attempted abduction took place on Awarua Street near the intersection with Ottawa Road. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

For the rest of this week, police would do drive-bys of the different entry points to the school from 2.30pm-3.30pm. Staff would also patrol Awarua Street and Ottawa Road, Ms Millar said.

"In terms of school, the Colway Street gate and the Ottawa Street gate will be closed at 9am each morning. Duty teachers are patrolling our arboretum area.

"For the rest of this week, the police will have a presence."

Teachers had spoken to the students about 'stranger danger', she said.

"I imagine this conversation is also happening at home. Something I have reinforced is that children should walk with or near known adults and children or in groups. Children need to walk home quickly and parents should monitor arrival times.

"Certainly yesterday, we noticed at least five children walking home on their own, considerably after the rest of the school had headed home."

The Ministry of Education had offered support but at this point Ngaio School had not taken up the offer, Ms Millar said.

Her school, and Wadestown, Cardinal McKeefry and Otari, had warned parents to be on the look-out for a man fitting the police's description.

Police want anyone who sees the man to call Wellington Police on 04 381 2000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.