'Stranger danger' warnings in Highwood after child luring attempts

May 9, 2013 8:28:04 PM PDT
Police in north suburban Highwood are warning parents after reports of a man and woman trying to lure children into cars.

There have been four incidents in Highwood since April 22, and two others in Maine Township and Elmhurst. Joshua Sommer's job is to protect his brother's kids, most of whom attend Oak Terrace Elementary

"I tend to be hyper vigilant," Sommers said. He watches the kids get home. Sommers believes all parents and caregivers have to be extra vigilant and open about the need to communicate in order to catch the man and woman in the possible attempted abductions.

On Tuesday, a girl said she was approached by a man in his 40s near the Highwood ballpark, which is just around the corner from the school. The man had gray hair and drove a green SUV, police say.

On Wednesday, another girl said she was approached by a woman in a white minivan while walking to Oak Terrace Elementary. The girl told police the woman asked if she wanted a ride.

"It could be anybody. . . It's just terrible," Rob Kleiman, neighbor, said.

"You have to watch out for your kids. You have to know where they are, know who's picking them up," said Rachel Pomerantz, parent.

Police released sketchers of the suspect who approached children after Oak Terrace let out on April 22 and 24. Highwood police released a statement that they are "investigating every lead and tip that has been received... We continue to work closely with North Shore School District 112 to maintain the safety of the children."

Similar attempted abductions in Elmhurst, Maine Township

The pattern is similar to a recent incident in Elmhurst where a man in a car approached two girls in their early teens, offering them a ride. Police issued an alert about the suspect in his 30's driving a gray sedan.

And a week ago in Maine Township a girl managed to escape a man who tried to abduct her.

Police have no reason at this point to believe any of the incidents are related.

While they have pretty good descriptions of suspects, they are all very different - including three different descriptions here in Highwood.

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