Authorities are investigating after two sisters, ages 13 and 7, were confronted by a strange man in a car while walking home from school Monday and tried but failed to get the attention of a nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut, police officer.
The girls' mother, Gloria Byfield, said the girls were heading home Monday afternoon when a man in a tan car tried to get their attention.
"She said the guy pulled over in front of her and got out the car and continued trying to talk to her and say things to her and at that point she got on the phone and called me," said Byfield.
Byfield said the man ran off and she instructed her daughters to go to a nearby officer, just two blocks from Waltersville School, while staying on the phone.
"I went to the police officer, and I told him. And he told me he was off duty so he couldn't do anything about it, and he told me to walk home," said 13-year-old Anya Jackson.
Byfield says the officer told her daughters to have their parents file a report of the incident with police.
The two girls walked to their mom and she went to the police station.
Authorities said they've increased patrols in the area and launched a criminal investigation into the suspicious vehicle and internal affairs is investigating the allegations against the officer.
“The investigation is underway and is a priority for the Office of Internal Affairs. We teach our kids to go to a police officer if they are scared or in trouble. I taught that to my son," said Asst. Police Chief James Nardozzi, in a statement released by the department. "Investigators are still gathering the facts, but I can’t stress enough how seriously we take these allegations.”
In the same statement, Brett Broesder, spokesperson for Mayor Bill Finch said, "Mayor Finch expects a lot from our police officers who work hard to keep our streets safe every single day. But he also strongly believes that the top priority of our officers is protecting kids. That’s why he looks forward to this investigation turning up the facts surrounding this incident, and if there was any wrongdoing, ensuring that appropriate action is taken.”
Byfield said her children are scared and she wants the officer punished.
"At the end of the day my kids could be gone because of this one mistake, this one officer," said Byfield.
Police say they've canvassed the area searching for potential witnesses as well as surveillance video. Anyone with information is urged to call Bridgeport police at 203-576-8126.