Reporting Rachel Slavik
ROCHESTER (WCCO) — A bike ride for a Rochester girl turned into a terrifying ordeal when police said a man tried to kidnap her.
Last Saturday, 10-year-old Shara Harbin said a man grabbed her off her bike on the northwest side of town while she was playing at a friend’s house.
“He snatched me off my bike and he told me to shut up,” said Shara.
She credits her dad, John Harbin, for telling her to do the right thing.
“My dad told me to scream if something happens,” said Shara. “I said ‘help, help me,’ and stuff,”
He never expected his daughter would actually have to use that advice, but her reaction saved her, because the man eventually let go and ran into the woods.
“It gives any parent out there nightmares when you find out your child was almost abducted,” said John.
Rochester Police crime specialist Darrel Hildebrant educates the public on stranger danger.
“She did everything correctly, what a child should do if approached,” said Hildebrant.
He believes Saturday’s incident shows that talking to kids about how to handle strangers is still an important lesson.
“It’s a terrible thing, because when I grew up, we didn’t have this. We didn’t worry about strangers,” said Hildebrant.
If Shara ever questioned her dad’s advice before, that’s all changed.
“I thought that it would never happen, but it’s true. People in this world are mean,” said Shara.
Now, John can’t help but want to question everyone, even though his daughter is safe by his side.
“I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. Every time I see someone who fits the description, I’m thinking to myself, ‘is that him?’” said John.
Police have not made any arrests. The description is vague, only a man in his 30s. So, if anyone saw anything, they are asked to call Rochester Police.