This morning the President of Hopkinton Youth Soccer contacted HYSA and organizations in other local towns regarding an incident that took place yesterday at one of their fields. She said “a U10 player was heading to use the portable restrooms at the far end of our facility and was approached by a suspicious man. There have been numerous other reports of a similar event in other neighboring towns, so I wanted to pass it along to you. This took place in the midst of many team practices, with a lot of people around.” I am happy to report the child ran away and alerted an adult.
Hopkinton Youth Soccer posted general safety procedures, which we felt were good reminders. They included the following:
- When dropping your child off for a game/practice, (or when reffing a game) please do not leave your child without an adult present.
- Our coaches know not to leave before all players have been picked up, but please be respectful of their time and arrive a few minutes before the end of practice so there is no risk of a child being left alone.
- Be sure to discuss with your kids how to react in these kinds of situations. Have them use the bathroom before they head over to the fields, and if they need to use the facilities during a practice have them utilize the “buddy system”
- If you are around and a similar situation occurs, call 911 immediately and try to get a photo of the person/vehicle/license plate.
Pasted below is a press release from the Hopkinton Police Department with more information and a few suggestions.
Holliston Youth Soccer President
Suspicious Incident Involving Child
The Hopkinton Police Department is actively investigating a suspicious incident involving a child who was approached by an older man. The child was attending a soccer game at the Fruit Street field when she was approached by a man driving a darker grey vehicle, possibly a Honda Accord. The man asked if the girl knew where a local restaurant was. The girl immediately ran away and told a coach.
At 6:40pm dispatch received a call from the Vice President of the Hopkinton Youth Soccer reporting the suspicious incident. Units responded and searched the area. Detective DeBoer and Chief Lee responded as well. A search of the area and the local restaurants was conducted however the vehicle was not located. The suspect has been described as a white male in his 50’s, thin build, with grey hair and wearing sunglasses.
This incident has similarities with other incidents that have occurred in Central Massachusetts. The Hopkinton Police Department recommends that parents speak to their children about strangers and what to do when they are approached by one. Children should understand who is a stranger and who is not. Children should also understand that strangers do not ask for help from children. Additionally, children should also know not to engage strangers, but walk or run away to tell an adult.
The Hopkinton Police Department asks that parents, neighbors, merchants and all members of the community be vigilant in keeping our children safe. If anything seems suspicious or out of the ordinary call 911 immediately. Our best chance at preventing and solving crime lies in our community partnerships. If you have any information that can assist the Hopkinton Police in this matter please contact Detective Gregg DeBoer at (508) 497-3401 ext. 1279 or our Crime Tip Line at (508) 497-9785.