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School, police warn of possible abduction attempt in Highwood

Police sketch

Police sketch

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Updated: June 3, 2013 2:12PM

The Highwood Police Department has warned the community of two possible abduction attempts after an eight-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl were approached outside Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highwood last week.

According to Highwood police, the girl was approached at about 4:30 p.m. April 22 by a man who claimed to know her father and offered her a ride home.

The man stood across the street from the school, at 240 Prairie Avenue.

“I know your dad. I can give you a ride home,” he reportedly told the girl.

The female victim, who was not harmed, turned and ran back into the school. She did not observe any vehicles in the area other than normal traffic. The incident was reported to police three days later.

Later in the week, April 24, an eight-year-old boy was approached by a man at about 3:25 p.m. on the south side of Prairie Avenue, across the street from the school. Police said the man, who was on foot, asked the boy, “Do you want a ride home?”

According to police, the man came within two feet of the boy, who became frightened, turned away and ran west on Prairie Avenue away from the school.

The boy arrived safety at his home a short distance away.

The suspect was described as a white male with “spiky” hair, with a short goatee, a hoop earring in his left ear and a star tattoo on his left forearm.

At the time of the April 24 incident, he was reportedly wearing sunglasses, a blue T-shirt, dark blue jeans and a silver wristwatch, police said.

Highland Park police also are aware of the solicitations and have increased patrols around schools in North Shore School District 112. Both victims are in third grade.

Authorities are urging parents to review basic safety precautions with their children, including warnings not to accept gifts from a stranger or get into a car with a stranger.

Children also are advised to tell a parent or trusting adult if they feel unsafe, or have been approached by a stranger.

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