Palm Beach County Sheriff's detectives are investigating a reported attempted abduction of a boy in Lake Worth.
It happened Monday afternoon as the child was playing in the backyard of his development.
His soccer ball went over the privacy fence into the front yard, just feet from the front door.
According to his mother, the boy said that a man grabbed him from behind and put him in a bear-like hold, covered his eyes, didn't say anything to him and lifted him off the ground.
His mother, who only wanted to be identified by her first name Tiffany, said her son kicked the man. That's when the stranger reportedly let him go and jumped into a white family-style van with a dent in the back.
"To hear the words come out of his mouth that someone tried to take me, I can't express to you the feeling that went through my body," Tiffany said.
She wants other parents to be aware. "Our whole entire freedom feels like it has been ripped from us. It's not a park that this happened at, not a public place, this is our home, this is our house and it was in our yard."
A Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy has been patrolling the area and is asking neighbors to be on the lookout.
Anyone with information or home surveillance video that can help investigators is urged to call PBSO or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
The sheriff's office has this advice for parents:
- Teach your children to take action, such as; point out places to go to for help when walking to and from school, the park, etc.
- Remind your children to travel with a buddy or group
- Warn your children about accepting rides or changing plans without your permission
- Teach them the tricks would-be abductors use, such as; offering money or asking for help
- Encourage your children to tell a trusted adult whenever anything or anyone makes them uncomfortable