NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville parents are on high alert after a woman says a man was hiding at a popular playground trying to lure children from inside a slide.
The man, whose identity remains unknown, was spotted by a child sometime during the day Wednesday when the park was full of families and children.
Later the same night, police confirm they received a call about the incident, saying a nanny was with a child at the park and saw a man wave for the child to come toward him as the child was about to enter the slide.
The nanny reportedly yelled for the child to come back to her and the man got up and walked away.
Shirley Moore told News 2 she has brought her family to the playground at Centennial Park playground for decades.
“I see homeless looking people around, but I’ve never been bothered by that and never have been approached while we are in the park. It just seems relatively safe. I’ve always felt like that,” Moore explained.
On Thursday, she was with her great grandson.
“I like the openness of it, that I can see him. He can still play and I can still see him almost anywhere I am,” she told News 2.
It’s the same reason Angie Good brought her daughter to the playground.
“I picked this park because it’s wide open and seems relatively safe. We were here yesterday and again today, because we liked it so much,” said Good.
What reportedly happened Wednesday afternoon has both families more alert.
The nanny says it was crowded at the big playground when the incident happened and that she was only 15 feet from the slide. Good had been there earlier in the day but didn’t notice anything peculiar.
“There was other children here, parents. It was a beautiful day, never would have guessed that would happen in the same spot where we were playing. I would have never guessed waiting in the slide. It’s kind of sad ,” Good explained.
Metro parks police told News 2 they are investigating after similar reports of a suspicious man trying to lure kids into a van.
“Some of the people said that he was trying to get the kids to come in the van with him. It’s concerning anytime you have someone that’s reported where there’s a person trying to get children into vans, because there’s been too many children abducted,” Lt. Houston Taylor with Metro Parks explained.
Good says she’ll be keeping a closer eye on what’s going on around her.
“It’s creepy it just goes to show it doesn’t matter what time of day, doesn’t matter where or when it’s just you always have to be aware of your surroundings.”
Metro police say they sent out extra officers Wednesday night and Thursday to patrol the area, and Metro Parks officers said they have stepped up patrol as well.
The man is described as a white male who stands around 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was wearing a Vanderbilt University T-shirt and baseball cap with plaid shorts.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Metro police at 615-862-8600 or Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.