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‘It’s terrifying’: Couple urges parents to stay vigilant after their son, 7, was allegedly targeted in Costco

By Ellie Nakamoto-White

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    GRAFTON, Wisconsin (WDJT) — What was supposed to be an average grocery run for a Grafton mother and her four children is now the subject of a police investigation after an alleged abduction attempt on April 7.

Cari Allison told CBS 58’s Ellie Nakamoto-White that she had taken her boys ages 14, 11, 7 and 3, to the Costco in Grafton on Friday for lunch and shopping.

It was around noon when seven-year-old Isaiah told her he had to go to the bathroom.

While the family normally utilizes the buddy system, Allison said her eldest were setting up at a table around noon and her youngest had begun having a meltdown, so she told Isaiah to “go quickly.”

After what Allison said was a “fast” bathroom break, Isaiah came back and resumed eating his lunch.

But it wasn’t until they were heading toward the checkout line, that things took a turn.

“He whispered in my ear, sounded really ashamed and nervous about what had happened, and he had said that somebody in the bathroom was telling him to keep a secret and that if he came with him, he’d give him candy,” Allison said.

She requested help from the cashier and management immediately, calling her husband, Gerald, and Grafton police afterward.

“The one time that you think it’s okay because you’re standing 50 feet away, you run into something like this,” Gerald said. “To me, it’s important that people understand how quickly this can happen.”

Later that night, the Allisons recorded a warning video to other parents and posted it on Facebook.

That video now has over 85,000 views in just under 24 hours.

“I think a lot of times parents think, oh, that’s not going to happen to me, or my kids like they’ll be fine, God will protect them, but it can,” Allison said.

Gerald agreed, noting that the situation is scary for any parent.

“It’s terrifying to know our son was in a potential situation where he might not have come home with us that night,” Gerald said. “It’s just hard knowing that the guy is still out there.”

Now the family is urging others to educate their children when it comes to stranger danger, noting that they started teaching their sons as soon as they were able to understand.

“It’s not making them fearful. It’s making them educated,” Allison said. “If there is one person that was able to avoid this situation because something clicked and said, I need to get out of here and say something, that’s what matters.”

While Isaiah was unable to give police a description of the man on Friday, his parents said he was able to tell them that the man was most likely in his forties, with dark hair and facial hair, and wearing blue pants and a dark top on Saturday.

“Memories are coming back,” Allison said. “There’s a man out there right now that attempted this on our son and who’s to say he’s not doing it to someone else?”

His parents said they are looking into therapy, as while Isaiah is typically the most physically affectionate and loving of their children, since the alleged incident, he’s become reserved, “standoffish,” and has begun rejecting physical touch like hugs.

“It is unusual that Isaiah went to bed as early as he did last night. The last two nights he did have nightmares. He didn’t say what they were about,” Allison said.

In a press release sent out Sunday, Grafton police said they are investigating the incident and are reviewing “over two hours of video” provided by Costco.

The Allisons said Costco’s management had informed them that they have the man in question on-camera and were able to identify him by his membership card. However, officials are unable to move forward until they hear from the DA and other investigators.

Grafton Police Chief Jeff Caponera said there was a comment on social media that alleged a young girl was approached on the same day at Costco but that it was “inaccurate” and there “have been no other similar reports.”

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