Parents question police action in 'white van' incident

By Stacy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) --{}Parents who live in Mount Pleasant's Hamlin Plantation{}neighborhood said they felt frustrated Tuesday.{}Police{}missed an opportunity to catch a dangerous person, they said.

"It's just disturbing. We're kind of out here on our own," said Nicole Coppock, who lives with her{}husband and{}son, 9, in Hamlin Plantation.

Coppock was one of the irritated parents who said police did not take the alleged abduction attempt seriously.

"They haven't done anything in a month. Who knows what could've happened? They tried to grab a kid. There was no report filed. The police aren't coming out and monitoring and letting us know what's going on," she said.

After the incident, 17 days went by before a report was filed.

"Half the neighborhood didn't even know what was going on," Coppock said. "We didn't have any communication other than ourselves. If we called the police, we didn't get a lot of information."

Police said they responded to a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood and looked around March 2, when the incident initially happened. But they couldn't find anything and said the child wasn't concerned.

A police{}spokesman said in hindsight, the incident should have been reported then and communicated to the public immediately.

Police also said they've taken a lot of calls about white vans and follow every lead.

Meanwhile, Coppock and other moms created a "mom hotline." They had a chain of command, to make sure every parent knew their child is safe.

"It was fine to go just down the street and play. Now it just has to be with a large group, mixed age, and otherwise they have to stay close to the house," Coppock said.

Students who live in Hamlin Plantation feed in to Jennie Moore Elementary School. The school's{}principal said she met with staff Thursday and will check with Mount Pleasant Police about safety precautions after spring break. Spring Break begins Friday.