Beware of This Tactic!
This story was aired on NBC on 29 April 2007. In Saratoga Springs, New York, a high school Senior female track star named Lindsey Ferguson was going to her car in the school parking lot. Adjacent to her car on the driver side was a van. She saw it and thought it was a parent’s car. As she opened her car door, the van door slid open and a man exited. He grabbed her around the waist with one arm and attempted to cover her mouth with the other.
Miraculously, a teacher named Ray, who just happened to be in the parking lot, saw everything, screamed out to the assailant who jumped back in his van and drove away. Ray, using his cell phone (thank God for cell phones) called the police as he ran after the van, giving the police the license number. He then jumped in his car and followed the van. When the police stopped the van, the assailant claimed he was only making phone calls and all he did was startle the girl, nothing more.
Upon inspection, the suspect’s van was filled with a tarp, a saw, pre-tied slip knots on a rope, a syringe pre-filled with anti-histamine to knock out the girl and a camera. His name was John “Rocky” Regan who had a history of stalking and abduction. He was, in fact, a predator. Interestingly, neighbors said this ‘family man’ was a great guy! In other words, predators don’t walk around the neighborhood wearing a red suit with pointed ears, a long tail, carrying a pitch fork and announcing their intentions. They can be perceived as nice guys. John Regan was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
How lucky, though, was Lindsey Ferguson? The hand of God was certainly on her head that day. Had it not been for Ray, she might not be alive today. What could she have done? First, not make the assumption that a vehicle, any vehicle, belongs to a parent. Second, and this is key, she should never have approached her car seeing that a van was parked next to her car, a van whose sliding door was just a couple feet from her drivers-side door – a common kidnapping strategy. The best choice would have been to return to a safe place, call school security or the police.