Stranger tries to grab backpack, girl on way to Tukwila Elementary

A man in his 40s grabbed a girl's backpack and then tried to grab her as she walked on a wooded path to Tukwila Elementary School at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The fourth grader was approached from behind by a man described as African American and wearing dark clothing. When he wouldn't let go of the backpack, the girl dropped it, ran to school and told adults, school Principal Steve Salisbury wrote in a letter home to parents Wednesday.

The girl "did exactly the right things," Salisbury wrote in the letter.

The incident occurred on a path that leads to Tukwila Elementary at the end of South 152nd Street.

Tukwila Police officers searched the area for the suspect and recovered the student’s backpack.

Police are asking that parents be on the alert and remind children about important stranger-safety tips. The Tukwila School District is also alerting parents by autodial phone messages in English, Spanish, Nepali, Somali and Burmese.

The school district provided these safety tips:

• Never talk to a stranger.

• Never let a stranger get too close, whether the stranger is in a car or walking.

• Never tell a random stranger any personal information, such as your name, age, or address.

• Always walk and travel in groups when possible.

• Stick to safe, well-lit paths when walking.

• Do not obstruct your hearing with iPods or portable music players when walking or waiting outside.

• If a stranger tries to grab you, yell as loudly as you can and run away.

• Always alert an adult immediately if you are approached by a suspicious person.

If anyone has information about this incident, call the police at 206-433-1808.

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