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Published: Friday, 2/8/2013

Sylvania police investigating second report of suspicious man in van approaching students

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 send an email to parents today.

Parents of Sylvania School district students received the email from assistant superintendent Scott Nelson, informing them of the incident and encouraging parents 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,” said district spokeswoman Nancy Crandell. A message was also posted on the school system's Facebook page.

Police received a report Wednesday afternoon that a white panel van with a ladder rack, approached a female middle school student, 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.” The email 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 has approached a Sylvania student in the past week.

On Feb. 1, a man 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 said.

Parents also received an email after the first incident. 

Mr. Nelson wrote in today's email that the female student acted appropriately.

“We commend this student for doing the right thing,” he wrote, in the email. “As parents, we teach our kids to get away as quickly as possible.”

Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus could not be reached for comment late today. Last week, the department stated it would increase presence in the area, and be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Contact Kelly McLendon at kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.



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