A prominent Mandurah police chief has commended local officers for their quick action as a Lakelands man was arrested today for allegedly approaching children in Meadow Springs, saying their investigations avoided a child potentially being abducted.
A 48-year-old man has been charged with Procure, Incite, Encourage a Child under 13-years to do an Indecent Act.
It is alleged about 11.40am on Friday, November 15, the man was in Quarry Adventure Park located on Pebble Beach Boulevard in Meadow Springs when he approached two female children aged 11 and 12 years outside the toilet block area of the park.
It is further alleged he got within three metres of the girls and removed a small note from his pocket, which he had written a message on with a dollar coin attached by sticky tape.
He allegedly dropped the note, coin and opened condom packet in front of the two girls before walking in the bush area and behind a tree.
After reading the note the girls left the area and advised their parents, who contacted police.
Further to this, police allege the man engaged with a 14-year-old online and exposed the child to explicit material.
The man appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court today and has been refused bail.
Acting Superintendent Dean Snashall of Mandurah District Office said the man, who had been driving a blue utility, had showcased behaviour that led to numerous reports from the public.
"The behaviour escalating by this person is extremely concerning," he said.
"To place a note with money at the feet of two children under the age of 13 in a public area was very concerning to us and it was the reason we pulled a number of resources on this over the last few days to ensure we had enough evidence to be able to charge this man today.
"It is extremely concerning. I have no doubt having spoken to the investigators that left untouched the next step for this person would have been contact with a child.
"We were that concerned that we put surveillance in place on this particular gentleman.
"I have no doubt that the arrest today has hopefully prevented a child from the Mandurah area potentially being abducted.
"The note said 'come with me if you want more', in relation to the money.
"The two children, albeit very young, 11 and 12, conducted themselves very well in the circumstances and immediately ran from the area and told their parents.
"It's a sad indictment of where we are as a community when we have to worry about our kids going to a public park.
"What I will say to the public is that it is important as parents that we have a chat with our children around personal safety.
"This is very good evidence that these two children have had that conversation with their parents and were able to identify it was a risky situation and immediately left the area.
"This behaviour may have been occurring for some time. We know of two incidents but understand there may be further incidents and I encourage anyone that has had conversations with their children to come forward and tell police.
"We weren't going to run the risk of allowing him to have access to children. It was a very good job done by the Mandurah Detectives, the State Operations Command Centre and Child Exploitation Team."
To report any other incidents in relation to this matter, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a report online at www.crimestoppperswa.com.au.