City RCMP said Wednesday no offence occurred after investigating a report of an attempted child abduction at Red Deer Arena.
Police responded to the arena shortly before 3:30 p.m. on May 30 after someone phoned to say a possible abduction of a boy had occurred.
The complainant alleged the boy was playing in the stands near the concourse when he was grabbed by a man who left the building immediately after. There were no witnesses to the event, however, several people saw the man leave the arena and get into a truck.
Police said the boy had been playing in the stands with friends and at one point had observed the individual seated alone in the stands, talking on a cellphone. As the boy was running on the stairs, the man stood up and ran down the stairs.
The man then approached the boy from behind and ran past him.
Police say this action from the man had frightened the boy. The man jumped a rail and left the arena.
The scared boy then ran up to another stranger and reported the incident.
RCMP said the boy was never grabbed by the man and no offence occurred.
RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Kathe DeHeer said normally police don’t issue news releases for non-events such as these.
But police felt it was necessary due to widespread rumours in the community that were circulating through various means including email.
“It took a life of its own,” DeHeer said.
But she said another lesson can be learned from all of this — don’t leave children unattended in public areas.
During the investigation, Mounties viewed video surveillance footage of the area that showed children of all ages left unattended, children playing with hockey sticks in the halls and children running recklessly through halls and public areas.
Parents tend to keep their children close in tow at some public places like shopping malls because they believe there are potential dangers, DeHeer said.
But for some reason, she said parents don’t think the same of arenas.
“They assume there’s more safety than there really is,” DeHeer said.
Arenas are public places and access is neither limited or restricted.
Police say parents can ensure their child’s safety in public places by knowing where their children are, what they are doing, who they are with, and that a responsible adult is with them.