Police Determine there was No Criminal Intent
WHITMAN — Chief Timothy Hanlon and Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak report that the Whitman Police Department has determined that a suspicious man in a vehicle at a school bus stop this morning was a driver for the ride share company Lyft who was waiting to receive a fare.
Police have determined there was no criminal intent.
At approximately 8:15 a.m., police received a call from a parent stating that there was a man in a gray SUV who was attempting to talk to students at the bus stop on Beulah Street.
A student at the bus stop took a photo of the man’s license plate and provided it to police.
Through the subsequent investigation, police located and spoke to the operator of the vehicle Thursday afternoon and confirmed that he was a Lyft driver that had recently dropped off a customer in Brockton. He had another fare that was cancelled as he drove through Whitman, so, he told police, that he waited in the area in case another customer requested his service.
The man told police he never attempted to speak to the children at the bus stop and students later confirmed that the man did not speak to them.
No charges or citations will be filed against the man.
Additionally, Abington Police told Whitman Police they had a similar incident happen yesterday near one of their elementary schools. However, police subsequently determined that the man’s vehicle did not match the description given.
Chief Hanlon praised the quick-thinking of the student who took the photo of the driver’s license plate.
“This incident was a good example of how a student had the presence of mind to take a picture of the registration plate so that we had a lead to follow up on, and investigate the incident completely,” Chief Hanlon said. “If we didn’t have that registration we may not have been able to locate the vehicle and operator, and would have been left wondering if this incident was more than it turned out to be.”
Superintendent Szymaniak would also like to praise the student and the parent who called for the police to respond.
“I want to thank the Whitman Police Department for quickly and thoroughly investigating this incident to its conclusion,” Superintendent Szymaniak said. “This was a great job by the student who snapped the picture of the license plate and the parent who called police. We can never be too cautious when it comes to child safety and thankfully this turned out to be a misunderstanding rather than something to be legitimately concerned about.”