KENNEWICK, Wash. - Kennewick Police have arrested a man who they believe was pretending to be a firefighter, and lured three children from a car.
Officers say around 1:45 on Saturday afternoon, (July 21st) a woman left her three children in a locked car in a Walmart parking lot, and told her 13-year-old son (the oldest) to babysit the others.
That's when police say 45-year-old Christopher S. Olsen of Kennewick approached the vehicle and told the children he was a firefighter. Officers say Olsen told the children they shouldn't be in the car alone, and convinced them to open the car so he could escort them into the store.
Using his cell phone, the 13-year-old boy called his mother, and met the man and her three children near the entrance.
The mother told police she saw Olson hug and kiss the head of the middle child because he was crying. Officers say although Olson was wearing a t-shirt that identified a Fire Department from the West side of the State, he was not a firefighter.
When police arrived, they say they found Olson, drunk, still sitting in his car in the parking lot. They arrested him for unlawful imprisonment, impersonating a public official and assault in the 4th degree, and booked him into the Benton County Jail.
This is a good reminder to parents or caregivers to always have a plan established with your children on what to do if a stranger approaches them.
Police say in this situation, it would have been best for the children to keep the doors locked and called 911 when the stranger tried to get them to open the car door.
In this case a potential tragic situation was averted and the offender was put in jail.
If you have seen a case like this one or have any further information, you can contact the Crime Stoppers line at 586-TIPS (8477), 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit www.tricitiescimestoppers.org