Police were on the lookout Tuesday for a man who tried to coerce a 9-year-old Carson City boy into his car Monday afternoon, then threatened to harm him when he refused.
"My son was on his scooter going down (Topaz) Road when a man in a gold car stopped by him and said, 'If you get in my car, I'll buckle you in," said the boy's mother, who asked to not be identified.
She said when her son told the man "no," the suspect offered him money in exchange for a sexual act.
"(My son) started speeding up faster and faster."
She said the man drove off, then came back and said, "If you don't get in I'm going to hurt you."
By the time the boy got home, he was in a panic and crying, his mother said.
"It's just ugly. What if he'd grabbed (my son)? He's just a little guy. I wouldn't have him anymore," she said.
"It appears we have a sexual predator in our midst," said Chief Deputy Scott Burau of the Carson City Sheriff's Department. "We have stepped up patrol activity in the area as well as surveillance units. We are cross-checking all of our sex offender files to look for any correlations."
The principal of Seeliger Elementary, the school nearest the location of the attempted abduction, sent letters home Tuesday explaining the incident to parents.
"This notice is for your information so that everyone is aware of the facts and is doubly mindful of our children's safety," wrote principal Laurel Terry.
Neither the victim, nor witnesses, had seen the car in the area before, Burau said.
"So we are not certain if we're dealing with someone who lives in the area or is just idling near the school," he said. "We don't have a lot to work with, but we will take what we have and move forward."
"We need people to call when they see something suspicious. It doesn't matter how ridiculous it seems, make the call. We'd rather have our people respond and find it's nothing than lose a child."
Burau said the department can't afford to be complacent in a situation like this.
"Some people might think this is little Carson City and nothing like this can happen, but we are not immune to falling prey to an abduction," he said.
"We can't run the risk of not throwing everything we have at this. What we are dealing with appears very suspicious, very deliberate and it appears as if we have a sexual predator based upon his comments."
The suspect vehicle is described as a small gold compact car with a single occupant, a white male adult in a yellow or orange shirt and hat, with a moustache.
Anyone with any information, or who sees anything suspicious is urged to call the Sheriff's Department at 887-2020 ext. 1400. If the suspicious activity is in progress, call 911.
"All I feel is complete fear," the victim's mother said. "My son learned a big lesson. I don't imagine he'll go very far from home for a while."