A strange man cruising through an upscale North Hall subdivision ordered a 10-year-old to get into his truck in what authorities are calling an attempted child abduction.
Hall County Sheriff’s deputies set up a mobile command post and spent several hours Monday questioning motorists driving past the Overlook at North Hall Estates subdivision, where the encounter occurred the previous day.
The subdivision is off Herbert Stephens Road off Mount Vernon Road, about two miles from North Hall High School.
Hall County Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said residents reported that at about 4 p.m. Sunday, a white male driving a blue pickup drove slowly up to a undeveloped lot where children were playing.
Strickland said the man reportedly told one 10-year-old boy, "get in the truck."
The boy refused, and the man drove off, Strickland said. Before leaving the subdivision the man stopped outside a home and spoke briefly to a woman, commenting on a puppy in her yard, Strickland said.
Authorities have created a composite sketch of the suspect based on witness descriptions. The man may have been driving a dark blue, full-sized pickup, Strickland said.
One neighborhood resident who declined to give her name said Monday that the boys were building a fort when the man pulled up. The resident said her 9-year-old son and another boy ran into woods after the man confronted them.
"It’s very frightening," she said. "My son came home shaking."
The resident said her family recently moved to Hall County from an urban metropolitan area where they didn’t feel comfortable allowing children to play outdoors alone.
"One of the reasons we picked this area is we researched it and it looked like a safe place and a good place to raise your kids," she said.
The incident has shaken her peace of mind, she acknowledged.
The woman said she was impressed with the level of attention the incident got from authorities. Sheriff’s deputies were on hand when the neighborhood children boarded the school bus Monday, and several patrol cars were parked outside the subdivision Monday afternoon.
"The response has been great," she said.
The last attempted child abduction investigated by Hall County authorities occurred in January 2007, when a white man approached two 11-year-old girls at a park in the Four Seasons subdivision in South Hall off Gaines Ferry Road.
In that incident, the man grabbed one of the girls but she was able to break free. The man fled after the girls began screaming, driving off in what may have been a blue Chevrolet Corvette.
No arrests were made in that case.
Anyone with information about Sunday’s incident is asked to call the Hall County Sheriff’s Office at 770-531-6879.