It was around dinner time on June 9, a Saturday, when a teenage girl who was babysitting two toddlers decided to walk them to Alice Brown Park near 44 Avenue and 200 Street in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood.
On the way, she said, she had an unsettling encounter.
As they were heading for the park, she said a white van passed them once, and the driver said something, but the girl couldn’t make it out.
The van circled back and stopped on the road.
That was when the driver asked if they wanted candy.
The girl said, no, loudly, and walked away quickly with the children.
The van drove away.
After officers spent several days knocking on doors and reviewing security camera footage, the truth finally came to light.
Two teenage boys, only a few years older than the babysitter, were driving in the area and chose to scare the kids.
Police interviewed the pair and decided not to recommend criminal charges.
“It’s unfortunate that these young men thought that what they were doing was fun,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said the incident upset the whole community for days.
“Once it was found to be a prank, we were all very upset and understandably angry,” the resident said.
“I truly hope this story won’t be told as a boys-will-be-boys, just a joke kind of thing,” the resident added. “This has caused terrible after-effects (in the community) and I would hate anyone to think this (was) one bit funny.”
“The amount of time and effort and money, along with the fears put into this young girl and the community as a whole, is awful,” the resident said.
“Why there wasn’t some restorative justice for youth utilized, I don’t know.”
The resident praised RCMP for their response.
“They (the police) took it very serious, quickly, and we are so thankful how hard they worked from night one.”
Cpl. Largy said police always take such reports seriously.
In May, the detachment issued an advisory telling students walking to or from school to walk with friends when possible and be aware of their surroundings. Avoid wearing headphones that could hinder your ability to hear approaching vehicles or people and don’t talk to strangers.
“If you are approached by someone unknown to you, keep moving towards a well-populated area,” the advisory said.
“Always report the incident to police.”