Watch your children on the Costa del Sol

LAST UPDATED: 20 Apr, 2013 @ 09:04
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Watch your children on the Costa del Sol

PARENTS in the Estepona area are being urged to be extra vigilant, following what appear to have been several attempted child abductions.

Grandmother Stephanie Rawlings was left shaken after she saw two men lurking around her car while her granddaughter was inside. Rawlings had left six-year-old Katie locked in the vehicle for only a few minutes while she used the ATM at the Sabadell bank in Estepona.

When she turned back to check on her granddaughter she noticed a small man crouched by the rear car door close to the child.

She said: “I got into the car as quickly as possible and locked us in but when I tried to reverse another huge man appeared and tried to block my exit.
“I kept reversing with my hand flat on the horn making as much noise as I could.”

As she was driving away, Rawlings saw the two men jump into the same car and head off together.

“I was so shaken I couldn’t contain myself, it’s just unbelievable that anyone would do this,” the grandmother said.

She has now reported the incident to the local police, but does not believe much is being done.

One of the men is described as thin with hollow eyes and greasy long hair, while the other is tall, of a heavy build with a shaved head and wearing dark clothing.

The car the men drove was an old maroon Peugeot 205. The grandmother, who lives in Estepona, insists she has heard of other similar incidents reported in the past few weeks, also involving children left unattended in vehicles.

“One mother I spoke to left her eight-year-old son in her locked car outside Lidl at Laguna Village.

“When she got out after ten minutes these two men were there and trying to encourage her son to open the door.

“I heard about another case outside a nursery in the town as well. They are supposed to be starting a campaign.”

Although Rawlings reported her experience to the local police, she believes they are not taking the incident seriously.

“I just want to warn other parents out there,” she added.

“I’ve occasionally left my granddaughter alone in the car for a few minutes but it’s something I’ll never do again.

23 COMMENTS

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  1. We’ve had several reports in our local area in the UK of attempts to abduct children by eastern europeans. Turns out they were all hoaxes. However, that doesn’t mean that we still shouldn’t be vigilant in the care of our children and I’m not saying this lady’s experience is a hoax, but I do question locking children in cars whilst you go off to get money out of an ATM or pop into a shop!

    Apart from the abduction issue, the car could be hit by another car or anything and perhaps people seeing a child on their own in a car may well question where the parents/guardians are? I wouldn’t leave a dog on its own in a car let alone a child.

  2. to Chris Jopp. I can guarantee this is not a hoax. Stephanie is a dear friend of mine and was incredibly shaken up by the incident. The other stories are also true. Of course in retrospect she knows she shouldn’t have left Katie, but she stopped right outside the Bank and literally turned her back on the car for two minutes… and thank Goodness she HAD locked the car. She told her story to warn other parents to be vigilant, certainly not to set herself up for abuse and to be accused of lying by the likes of you.People need to know that this IS happening and hopefully these dreadful men will soon be caught.

  3. The moral of the story is do not EVER leave your children in the car. The car could get hit and the children injured. They could get kidnapped. They could start the car!! just take them with you, even if it is inconvenient, they are the only precious angels you have. Take care of them please.

  4. Pg, we do usually call the police or town halls to get a flat no comment.. Only the national police in Malaga seem to be any good at helping journalistically speaking ( yes it is a word)…it is v frustrating.
    These stories are not hoaxes and NOT written lightly.
    There seem to be spates of them while gangs or individual perverts are around. One is an English man still being sought over velez Malaga snatch some months back… He’s dangerous and somewhere out there.
    Please be v v vigilant
    Jon

  5. to Joan Boardman – People like me? I am a mother and a grandmother and I would never leave my children locked in a car – my dad left me and my siblings in a car parked on a slope and my younger brother accidentally released the handbrake and had it not been for people walking by who managed to stop the car, get us to unlock the door and get the handbrake put on, heaven only knows what would’ve happened.

    I certainly didn’t mean to offend your friend and I did say in my post that I wasn’t saying that she was a hoaxer and I certainly wasn’t abusing her. All I was saying that children should never be left locked in cars and yes we should all be vigilant in watching out for people who may be out to grab our children.

    It is good that Jon has published the report because it highlights the problems and hope they continue to raise awareness.

  6. The article is a bit vague,seems to be all hearsay..i´m not doubting this ladie´s word at all.This is not something you would report to the local police(they do not deal with this kind of incident).She should have driven straight to the nearest national police station.They probably would not have done much but at least thay would have taken note and maybe filed a report.Local police wouldn´t do anything…Have these other incidents been reported to the national police? Not something to be taken lightly.

  7. I would take any reporting of this nature from the olive press with a pinch of salt. They report regularly on missing toddler Madeline mccann who vanished in 2007 and who has been reportedly seen now in 57 countries . The olive press report these nonsense sightings regularly and expect us to be gullible enough to believe it, please bear in mind that in a matter of days it will be the 8th anniversary of Maddie , and their parents, and their pr machine which includes the olive press are not above the sensationalism in the extreme. It would not surprise me to read in that quality rag the daily star about the olive press story and the McCanns being reported in the same paragraph at some point in the next 7-10 days ….”MADDIE ABDUCTORS NOW TARGET COSTA DEL SOL” pleeeeeeeease…

  8. Hi Jon I notice you haven’t published my comments regarding your reporting. Can you explain why you censor valid opinion. My thoughts as a parent are valid; unsubstantiated reporting is dangerous and irresponsible . I re-post again in the faith that you will report fairly. If I can’t voice opinion here would you recommend your readers to use other newspapers for such purpose!

  9. I am so worried after reading this story, I have heard a few stories about attempted abductions on the costa and it seems these nasty people are getting away with it. How about all the unreported attempted abductions that we dont hear about. The police do nothing to try and catch these evil people but i bet if a parent/grandparent found someone by their car and retaliated they would be punished, this needs to be stopped and these people caught and dealt with as nessasary. PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE AND WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES

  10. Here they come; the anti-McCanns enjoying their favourite hobby: According to them any child that is almost abducted is a hoax and set up by the McCanns. Any reporting of the near abduction is a conspiracy between the McCanns and the press.

    What they are effectively saying is pay no attention to the men trying to abduct children: ie they want to protect them. In order to protect them they:

    1. Dismiss any attempted abduction as a hoax.
    2. Call the victim a liar.
    3. Blame the victim for not being surgically sewn to the child.
    4. Blame the McCanns.
    5. Blame the press.

    Nowhere do they attack the people attempting to abduct a child. Now why would that be? Why attack the victims and absolve the men trying to take the children?

    It doesn’t take a genius to workout why.

  11. 1. There is no evidence to support the McCann abduction theory, therefore it is most probably a hoax
    2. The McCann’s and friends witness statements don’t correlate and therefore someone is lying
    3. Pity they didn’t have their daughter (to use your words) surgically sown otherwise she would still be here today
    4. The McCann’s are not blameless in their daughters disappearance. They were totally irresponsible
    5. The press are to blame all to frequently for inaccurate reporting, hence the Levison enquiry.

    Natalie’s comment is right to the point…
    “PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE AND WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES”

  12. Brian,people like you make me sick. You fail to focus on the assailants preferring to bully and place blame on the distraught parents. You essentially make excuses for the perverted sickos who took this innocent. Is there some thing you are perhaps not disclosing to us?

  13. Brian the supermarket man, not OK to steal a sandwich on RyanAir but OK to abduct a child. The story is a good reminder to everyone to be vigilant, on the beaches as well. I watched a programme on the UK TV many years ago and they filmed over 30 paedophiles on one beach promenade in one day in the UK in one small area. Don’t listen to Brian they are not all made up stories by sickos like he wants to portray. If anything Spain and Countries alike are easier for Criminals as there are fewer cameras.

  14. In these cases will be very helpfull to call Police, at the same moment, by the phone.

    But is very dangerous to leave babies alone in a car

    There have been cases of parents who have forgotten some hours to their children in the car interior in summer and under the sun. Children died.

    I know a neighbor of mine to whom this happened with two big dogs.

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