Pierrepont Playground Parents Awareness Sign

This sign was posted today on the entrance gate to the Pierrepont Playground.

Editor’s note: A story about this alleged incident was published by Boccoaland recently. BHB has not been able to verify any of the claims. We advise that all parents and caregivers use common sense when overseeing children at play. Children should be educated about how to deal with strangers. We suggest you review this guide for starters.

Share this Story:
  • lois

    Sad to say, but parents and caregivers must be ever vigilant. Every few years, there are incidents. Fortunately, this one had a happy ending.

  • J

    NOW you post something. Thanks for not taking this seriously last week.

  • GHB

    If it was posted at the playground yesterday (3/28), how could it have been posted online earlier? Jeez…

  • J

    BHB wouldn’t post the original warning that prompted this sign.

  • She’s Crafty

    I’m not sure why it wasn’t posted here last week because I also sent admin something about it. PS 8 parents got an email from the parent coordinator last week about it. While I don’t want us all to get paranoid, this is exactly the kind of informatio I would like to see here on this blog. Knowing about this will not only make me keep a closer eye on my kid but other children at that playground too.

  • Poplar

    The email that circulated gave some more details about the incident (such as it was two children and that they were standing by the gate). Is it possible that the man in question was simply making sure the kids weren’t leaving without an adult? My husband and I have both done this on numerous occasions, and usually move on once we see the guardians.

  • Knight

    The incident actually happened last Thursday around noon and was posted on the BoCoCaLand website later that afternoon.


  • Elaine Comstock-Leirer

    It is so distressing to read this. As a child in the Heights everyone was watching us. Neighbors, domestics and bypassers. We were never alone or unobserved. I can never recall any incident like this in my childhood. What has happened to our society. How is this affecting our children.

  • GHB

    Elaine, it’s not like things suddenly changed. Remember the Lindbergh baby, Etan Patz, Mary Phagan?

  • http://loscalzo.posterous.com Homer Fink

    There is no evidence that this incident “actually” happened except for the email.

    If anyone has a copy of police report or any hard facts feel free to send to us. My editor’s note speaks for itself.

  • resident


    Not to dismiss the report or anything, but the reason you don’t remember something like this taking place in your childhood is because it truly doesn’t happen very often. The fear of some stranger taking and/or violating your children is mostly an irrational one, yet one that’s taken hold because it does on occasion happen, and the thought is horrific. But, the facts are that a child is far, far more likely to be kidnapped by a parent and that a child is far, far more likely to be violated by someone he/she (and the parents) know than for either crime to be perpetrated by a stranger.

    Kids need to be taught what is appropriate interaction with strangers and caregivers need to be vigilant, but at the same time, I wouldn’t spend my days in fear of something happening at a public park.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    You also probably don’t remember things like this happening because social media makes this information so much more readily available now, for the better. I am guessing there was no Brooklyn Heights Blog back then. If not for BHB, I would have no idea that this even happened.

  • She’s Crafty

    I hear you Homer, but the posting actually said that the man left abruptly once the mom saw what was happening and started to approach him. If he was genuinly concerned, I would have thought he would have said “Just checking” or something like that to the mother, rather than speeding away.

    Also, a specific person was not accused here, just a general description provided. I don’t see the harm in putting it up. I don’t live in Bococa, so I dont’ read Bococaland, but I do read BHB and would have appreciated it being reported here, even if just a rumor.

  • J

    The original email was sent from an actual parent in the neighborhood who was concerned enough about what happened to her children to alert other parents. The author of that email has no reason to send out false reports of questionable incidents in BH.
    Good for her for taking this seriously.

    I will note that no one knows what the person in question’s intentions were but when children are involved it is important to stay alert.

  • Nabeguy

    Perhaps we should hire a helicoptor to hover over the playground at all times…might give some of the mothers a bit of a break.

  • ChopperMan

    Nabeguy – Great idea. Unfortunately very expensive. I have arranged with the City, however, to have private tour helicopters fly over regularly. We just need to ask them to peek out often. This seems economical and prudent.

    And as I am 5’10, caucasian and dark-haired (and frequently clothed in jeans and a t-shirt), I have resolved to stay away from all parks. And I urge everyone to report me, particularly if you see me with my own children.

    (This description is worse than useless.)

  • BHMommy

    I have to agree with Homer and Poplar here. I am a neighborhood mom who frequents Pierrepont Playground and I think that this woman was severely overreacting. It sounded to me like this guy was trying to make sure that the kids weren’t leaving the park without an adult.

    I do think it is always a good reminder for parents (and kids) to remain vigilant however.

  • ABC

    “There is no evidence that this incident “actually” happened except for the email.”

    What took place, took place. That poster doesn’t allege anything.

    I find the whole “hard facts” thing a little condescending. If you want to talk to the person who wrote the email, her email address is very easy to come by. It doesn’t take much effort — altho, I admit, it takes a little more than just waiting for someone to send the story in to you.

  • bklyn20

    There was a”Brooklyn Heights Baby Snatcher” in the summer of 2002. This was Tara Anne MacDonald, a mentally disturbed person with a record for trying to take little children in Manhattan , and who then started to try the same thing in the Heights. After 10+ police reports she was caught in the act on Montague Street. She was arrested, tried aand convicted and sent to a mental hospital, if I recall correctly. Some may be offended that I use her name but I suspect it can be found with a basic google search, and she did these things. I don’t know where she is now.

    The current incident is unrelated, but it did happen here, and not too
    long ago.

  • skunky

    Homer’s point about “hard facts” like a police report is very appropriate. If something like this did in fact happen, the parent should have immediately called 911 and made a report. Vigilance isn’t just writing a breathless email to a blog/parents’ group listserv. Why is this so difficult to understand? BHB is being vigilant in not publishing every anecdotal maybe-possible-child-snatching-but-who-knows kind of story so that already overprotective parents don’t freak the eff out unnecessarily.

  • ABC

    She immediately called 911 and made a report.

  • ABC

    I hope that’s not too difficult to understand skunky.

  • Master Of Middagh

    So… Knowing about this hypothetical child molester will help in what way exactly? Are parents going to be even more careful? What percentage of more careful? Shouldn’t they already be keeping an eye on their kids?

    If you’re already being vigilant, then these rumors of danger are even less than useless- they’re harmful.

  • She’s Crafty

    Wow, I can’t believe all the negative sentiments here. I’m a mother and I take my kid to Pierrepont all the time. I am certainly vigilant in watching him, but he’s almost 8 and doesn’t need me trailing after him. Pierrepont has one entrance/exit which is usually bolted by parents leaving and entering. In the past I have felt comfortable letting my son roam around that playground with minimal supervision since it has seemed relatively secure given the entrance/exit situation. Since this posting, yes, I will be more watchful than in the past.

    And I will say it again (and don’t understand why people don’t get this!) if this guy really was a concerned person trying to stop the kids from leaving by themselves, why on earth did he run away when the mom approached him?

  • ABC

    I can’t help but think people don’t believe the mom because the guy was white. Maybe not. I’ll tell you this: parents I’ve talked to have not brushed this off.

    It was a white guy who two summer ago took those creepy photos of the kids in the sprinklers at Chapin (and, it turns out, there was nothing illegal about it bcs he was shooting from outside the gate).

    It was a different white guy who jerked off watching the kids play in the sprinklers 3 or 4 years ago. I saw that one.

    I guess I can’t say what percentage more careful I am, but I am more careful. It’s easy to think when your kids get a little older than you can stop and talk to someone without your eyes on the all the time. But you have to be super careful.

  • She’s Crafty

    @ABC, I don’t think the negativity has to do with the race of the ‘suspect.’ I think, sadly, it may have to do with a backlash against parents in the neighborhood, for which I will say we are probably partly responsible. I’ve been a little shocked myself at just how many kids there are in the Heights these days. I left the stroller behind about 4 years back but I’m constantly annoyed at people taking up a lot of space with the huge strollers everyone seems to have currently and I do get the sense from many parents (hopefully not me) that they feel their kids can just run rampant. We’re not at Park Slope level yet, but I’m worried we might be getting there.

  • Poplar

    I certainly believe the mom is describing what happened, and perhaps there were other elements to the incident that made her suspicious but weren’t fully conveyed in the email or sign. I just think (and hope I guess) that there may be another more likely explanation. From what I’ve read it is extremely rare for a child predator to approach children in pairs, and it would be odd for them to ask if a child was allowed to leave, implying that maybe they aren’t (the original email stated “he asked if I was allowed to leave the park”). However, I am grateful that it is a rather common event for adults to stop kids at the gate who seem unattended, and then move on when they see the guardian (I’ve done it and have had strangers do it for my kids). Again, there may be more details to what happened that made the situation feel dangerous to the mom, but that’s my two cents.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    @She’s Crafty, I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to step off of the sidewalk to get out of the way or a stroller, or held open a door or an elevator door for a parent with a stroller without so much as a “thank you,” or even eye contact, which clearly gives off some kind of sense of entitlement that I am there to serve said parent. I’d really like to think I won’t lose my sense of human decency when pushing around a stroller, but yes, I think certain members of our ‘hood may have entered the discussion with some preexisting annoyance, which is a shame, because it’s a serious issue.

  • She’s Crafty

    @CH as I said I’m a mother and I can’t stand some of these parents and their kids. My pet peeve is the size of the strollers/vehicles.

  • J

    So now we’re blaming the parents. Nice.