Some Massachusetts parents are on edge after police say a suspicious man in a van approached children in two separate towns.
The incidents happened in Gardner and Hubbardston.
Mark Pellegrino, superintendent of schools in Gardner, says a 12-year old boy who attends Elm Street Elementary was approached by a suspicious man on Tuesday around 3 p.m. Pellegrino says the boy was walking home from school when a stranger offered him candy and told him to get in the van. Fortunately, the boy ran away and told his parents.
Gardner police reported a similar incident, saying two young girls were approached Tuesday at 7 p.m. by an older man who offered them candy to get in his van. The girls left running, according to police.
Mackenzie Donohue and other students in the district were given letters to take home to their parents explaining the situation.
“It’s really scary,” Donohue said. “Once we heard about it, we all got shaken up.”
A similar incident was also reported in Hubbardston just after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
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Gardner police say two 11-year-old sisters were approached by a man in a van who either videotaped them or took pictures while they were at the bus stop. The two girls ran away and told their parents.
Officials say the suspect description from Hubbardston matches that of the Gardner incident.
Police in both towns describe the man as:
- Older white male
- Blonde/grey hair
- Older white full size van
- Tinted windows
Hubbardston police say they're also investigating a man in a black car with "Einstein like hair" who approached a 14-year-old girl on Wednesday and asked her where she lives.
Police are asking the public to be vigilent and urge anyone to call in supicious activity that may be related to these incidents.