LPD investigating weekend incident as a joke after parents allege children were lured by employee

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 11:05 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A group of parents are concerned following a weekend incident at a Lawton business in which they say an employee tried to lure children with the promise of free items.

On Saturday evening, children were playing at the trampoline and adventure park when a minor who worked there told them they’d give them a free cell phone to come outside with them. Parents say two men were waiting for the kids, and they’re worried it could have turned into an abduction case if they hadn’t acted quickly.

Jessica Ridley immediately went to the general manager about the situation, who fired the employee on the spot.

“Saturday we got lucky, but what if we didn’t that day? What if someone would have said, “Yeah, I’ll take it’? And I don’t like that what ifs,” Ridley said.

Ridley and others called the Lawton Police Department.

She said LPD officials have told parents the employee was only joking.

“I don’t know necessarily if it was a joke,” Ridley said. “I don’t know if it was real. I know that all the parties involved are minors, but I mean, it’s 2022. Anything’s possible. Asking a child if they want something free, I don’t care who you are. You’re taught against that since you’re able to learn.”

A post in a Facebook group about the incident gained some attention over the weekend.

“I think that parents, we’ve been bashed and shamed on social media, that we just dropped our kids off and we just left, and that other parents just dropped their kids off,” Ridley said. “We were right there. These people didn’t care if the parents were three inches away or five feet away. They were still talking to these children with parents right there.”

One man said his two daughters were there and other parents called to alert him.

By the time he got there, the individuals had disappeared.

“We’re just really terrified over the fact that right now, unless we know what the safety protocol is for Urban Air or anywhere else for that matter, especially when an employee’s involved that our kids aren’t safe,” he said.

He believes if so many weren’t aware of the situation, it would have turned into an abduction.

“Our children have very few places to go in Lawton anyways, so to keep the few places that we do have and keep them safe and managed properly is a huge deal,” he said. “Huge deal. I think it was a scary incident for all involved.”

The Regional & General Manager of Urban Air told 7NEWS they can’t talk about what happens at the establishment because they sign non-disclosure agreements. We’ve reached out to the corporate office for comment.

LPD said the incident is still under investigation.

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