The Princeton Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office have conducted a joint investigation regarding two reported attempted luring incidents that occurred last week on Witherspoon Street in Princeton, and both agencies determined that there was no threat.
A Princeton resident reported that on two separate occasions, a man in a truck asked her two teenage daughters what their names were and offered them rides home in his truck. The mother of the two 16-year-old girls reported that on Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m., the man stopped one of the daughters and asked her for her name, then offered her a ride. On Sept. 27, the man stopped the other daughter at about 5 p.m., asked her for her name and offered her a ride. Both incidents occurred on the 300 block of Witherspoon Street.
The girls, both native Spanish speakers, identified the stranger as a Hispanic male, age 35 to 40, with short black hair, a black moustache, and a dark complexion. They said he had a slightly heavy build. The girls also described his Spanish accent as Mexican. The man was driving a black, newer model, extended-cab pick-up truck. The make and model of the truck are not known.
During the investigation, police identified the vehicle and man involved in the incident that was reported to police. The man was interviewed by law enforcement officials and the circumstances were reviewed, and investigators determined that there was no intent to lure or harm the two girls. Police said therefore no criminal charges are being filed at this time.
“I commend the children for walking away from the situations and for reporting the incidents to their mother, who notified our department,” Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said. “The safety of our children and the community will remain our paramount concern.”
Although no threat to the community was found, the Princeton Police Department will provide extra patrols in the area.
Numerous activists contacted the police department and posted comments on social media to complain about the police blotter write up about the incident, claiming the police department was being racist for identifying the suspect as Hispanic with a Mexican accent. But the two girls involved in the incident are native Spanish speakers who described the man that way. The man spoke Spanish to them.