A 19-year-old man has been arrested after a series of attempted child abductions, including one involving a two-year-old who was approached while playing in a park in Perth's north-east.
The man – who is known to police – has been charged with three counts of breaching protective bail conditions after he allegedly attempted to entice children into his car in Ellenbrook.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Broadley from the WA Child Abuse Squad said it will be alleged the man approached three separate groups of children while they were walking home from school between 2:30pm and 3:00pm on Wednesday, September 21.
"None of the children, who were aged between 5 and 11, got into this man's car and all of the incidents were reported to police," he said.
"We're also investigating a fourth incident that occurred about 11:00 that morning in which a man got out of his car and approached a two-year-old child at Stanbury Park.
"We do believe that all these incidents are related."
Call for witnesses
Detective Sergeant Broadley said the 19-year-old man, who lives in Ellenbrook, was identified through their inquiries and quickly taken into custody on the same afternoon.
"I do want to stress that this man has been charged and he doesn't present an ongoing threat to the community," he said.
"At the time of these incidents he was on strict bail conditions. He's breached those conditions and as such he's been charged and remanded in custody."
Detective Sergeant Broadley said the three incidents in the afternoon happened while the children were walking past three parks in the Ellenbrook area – Delapre Park, Willeroo Park and Coton Park.
He has urged anyone who saw a man driving a grey Toyota Corolla in Ellenbrook, specifically near Stanbury Crescent and Delapre Road, to come forward.
"We want anyone who was in those areas at the time who may have seen this man or the vehicle – or may have a dashcam fitted to their own vehicle – to contact Crime Stoppers," he said.
"Investigations into all four incidents are ongoing and we are cognisant of the fact that other children may have been approached who haven't told their parents.
"I would like to say that all of the children involved in these incidents acted incredibly and demonstrated outstanding safe and protective behaviours in not only protecting themselves but each other."
Police urge parents to speak to children about safety
The detective sergeant said he understood these types of incidents were worrying for parents and the wider community.
"Every situation is different, but we can say to children: stay with a friend, don't be out alone, don't talk to strangers," he said.
"If someone approaches you that you don't know but makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then run away.
"If you feel like you can't [run away] then create attention so those around you will notice you and get to a safe adult as quickly as you can.
"It's school holidays, there's a lot of children out having fun and enjoying their break, we urge parents to have conversations with their children about safe behaviours and what they might do if they were approached by somebody they don't know."
The suspect is due to appear before the Midland Magistrates Court on October 7.