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Parents on edge after attempted luring in South Jersey

July 11, 2012 2:39:41 PM PDT
In a blink of an eye, a girl's routine walk home from summer school in Evesham Township turned into a frightening ordeal.

"She was terrified, just terrified," Evesham Township Police Sergeant Joseph Friel said.

Sergeant Friel is talking about the 15-year-old girl who got off a school bus in the Kings Grant development in Evesham's Marlton section about 12:15 p.m. Monday.

While walking home, she was confronted by a man driving a white cargo van who demanded she get in the vehicle.

"Stopped the vehicle and the driver in a very aggressive voice, the victim described, told her to get in the vehicle. 'I'll give you a ride home,'" said Friel.

The teenager didn't respond, took off running for her house and immediately told her father what happened. They jumped in the car, quickly searching the neighborhood for the white van and called police.

"It's very concerning," said Friel. "As police we believe there's one reason why he wanted to get her in the van: he was trying to kidnap her and do something wrong to her."

The suspect is described as a white male about 50 years old with salt-and-pepper colored hair and a short-trimmed beard that's darker than the hair on his head.

He was wearing a white t-shirt and the white van he was driving had only driver and passenger side windows, none in the back, and no lettering on it.

Sejal Patel met her two children at the bus stop Tuesday. She and other parents in Kings Grant are concerned about the attempted luring.

"That freaks me out," said Kim Gavura. "That makes me really nervous that there's someone around, driving around looking for kids to do whatever."

"We have the rule if anyone comes up to like the park and is acting weird to just run home," said Hannah Morrison. "So it really scares me."

"I'm kind of really surprised and sorry for that little girl," said Sophie Taillefer. "Definitely on alert. Going to lock my door and tell my babysitter to be careful."

In addition to posting details on Facebook, police sent out a text message about the attempted luring. They've been looking for the van and following up on at least a dozen tips they've received.

Police are hoping to develop a composite sketch of the suspect. In the meantime they are asking parents to tell their children to be on alert.


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