A man carrying propane tanks allegedly approached a 14-year-old boy in San Mateo and asked how much the boy’s parents would pay if he were to be stolen, police said, marking the third reported incident that an adult has “inappropriately” approached a child on San Mateo streets since Nov. 7.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday, the man walked past the boy as he walked home from school in the 500 block of West 30th Avenue. As they passed, the two made eye contact and the adult allegedly posed the question to the boy, San Mateo Lt. Mike Brunicardi said.
The boy said nothing and the man told him to go away, police said. After briefly watching the man leave — headed east — the boy continued home.
“It’s kind of strange, the whole thing was very casual,” Brunicardi said. “This guy was carrying barbecue propane tanks [and] allegedly yelled at a kid. But any time anyone says something inappropriate to a kid, we launch an investigation and follow it up with increased patrols in the area.”
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his mid-30s, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 140 and 150 pounds.
The Friday incident is the third in approximxately five weeks. On Nov. 7, a black man — in his 30s, bald and clean-shaven driving a cream-colored Toyota — told a 10-year-old girl to get in his truck after she lefta bus stop along Humboldt Street.
Three weeks later, a man in a black BMW called out to a 14-year-old girl and told her to get in his car as it sat in the middle of North Humboldt Street around 8 a.m. That suspect was described as a black man in his 30s, clean-shaven with a “plump” face and short cornrows in his hair.
In both cases the children ran to adults they trusted and reported the incident.
Brunicardi said there is no reason to believe the incidents are related.
Anyone with information on any of the incidents should call the Investigations Services Unit at (650) 522-7650 or the Secret Witness Line at (650) 522-7676.