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Published: Friday, 2/8/2013

Sylvania schools sends emails, alerts police after 2nd student runs away after approached by van

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania police are investigating the second report in less than a week of a suspicious van approaching a student, prompting Sylvania School district officials to email parents Thursday.

Assistant superintendent Scott Nelson’s email informed parents of the incident and encouraged them to talk to their children about safety rules, including walking to and from school in groups.

“We sent it to all parents, so they could be aware and have subsequent discussions with their children about stranger danger, at home,” district spokesman Nancy Crandell said.

A message also was posted on the school district’s Facebook page.

Police received a report Wednesday afternoon that a white panel van with a ladder rack approached a middle-school girl as she walked home from school on Roberts Road, near Alexis Road.

The man tried to carry on a conversation with the student, but she ran away, police said.

According to the email sent by Mr. Nelson, “the student promptly ran home and is safe.”

Mr. Nelson describes the driver of the van as being in his 40s and bald.

This is the second time that a man in a white van reportedly has approached a Sylvania student in the past week.

On Feb. 1, a man described as driving the same type of vehicle allegedly tried to lure a 9-year-old boy into his vehicle at Maplewood Avenue, near Erie Street, also when the student was walking home from school.

The boy ran away, police reported.

An email also was sent to parents after the first incident.

Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Last week, the department said it would increase presence in the area, and be on the lookout for the vehicle.



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