Duval County

Young women in 3 different neighborhoods report suspicious white van

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Three different women have reached out to Action News Jax in the last month about a suspicious white van in their neighborhoods.

They said it appears to be following young women.

Home surveillance video shows a white van speeding past a home in the Royal Terrace area near Spellman. Seconds later, you see three women running down the sidewalk. They said the suspicious van took off when they took out their cellphones.

“I was like: ‘Mom, they tried to get me. They tried to get me,” Alexis Andrews said. “'Come get me, please.’”

23-year-old Alexis Andrews said she was walking home from the bus stop after her shift at a local Walmart. The expectant mother said she noticed a suspicious white van behind her.

“When it approached me, it sped up. Then, it stopped next to me,” Andrews said. “Next thing I know, I hear the door open, and I ran.”

Andrews immediately called her mom and sister, who came to meet her.

“We’re in the street. I’m holding her, hugging her and embracing her,” Lavonne Bridgeman said. “Next thing I know, she starts hollering ‘Mama, there goes the van right there.’”

Andrews believes the person was trying to abduct her, and said she believes she saw the same van back in November. She said she has the same routine every day, heading to work via bus, so, she believes she might have been targeted.

Earlier this month, a mother in the Lem Turner neighborhood reached out to Action News Jax and said her two daughters were approached by a young man in a similar white van. The driver sped off when he saw the mom. We got another similar report from a woman on the Westside.

All three women said they called police. But, since a crime was not committed and none of the women had a license plate number, not much could be done. We reached out to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to confirm the white van spottings and asked what people should do if they’re ever in a similar situation and received the following statement:

“As a result of public records laws, I am not able to confirm if the below listed individuals called 911 requesting police service. We would absolutely recommend anyone believing they were the subject or a victim of what they believe to be a possible abduction or luring incident to contact their local law enforcement agency for the information to be documented. With the mindset of acquiring as much information as possible about the subject or vehicle involved in the incident – without putting themselves in danger. And always pay attention to your surroundings while in the community – not allowing themselves to become distracted by electronic devices such as their cell phone.”

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office also gave us a few tips that can help police investigate claims.

First and foremost, police said to put distance between you and the vehicle. Second, if you have your phone on you, take a photo of the license plate number. Then, immediately call 911. Tell them your location and give them that license plate number. Lastly, head toward people — whether it’s a neighbor or someone outdoors.

Police said if there is a complaint against a vehicle and they’re able to locate the car, they can pull the driver over to question them.