HARVEY, Ill. - Police in south suburban Harvey, including the chief of police, patrolled the area around an elementary school Wednesday morning after two different boys were almost snatched while walking to summer school this week.
Parents were on edge Wednesday, after receiving a robo-call. They wanted to know if it's safe to let their kids outside.
"If you have a son or daughter attending the summer school program, you will want to make sure that he or she takes extra precaution when traveling to or from summer school," a woman said on the call.
Squad cars - marked and undercover - saturated the area around Bryant Elementary School, in the 14700-block of Main Street. Around 300 students started reporting to the school this week for its summer session.
Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves was focused on solving both cases.
"It's a deterrent. But if in fact there is an offender out there, we hope to make an apprehension. That's why we are all out," Eaves said.
A 10-year-old boy was walking to summer school around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday when he was allegedly chased by a man in a black, hooded sweatshirt, armed with a handgun.
After the man tripped, the child got away and ran to Bryant Elementary to tell school officials. The boy made it safely, but was panicked and out of breath.
"School officials became alarmed through his appearance, it appeared he was very exhausted, possible having an asthma attack. They took him to the hospital. Once he calmed down, he was able to describe the encounter which happened to him," said Sean Howard, Harvey spokesperson.
A similar incident happened near the school around 7:30 a.m. Monday. That boy was not hurt.
Parents held on tight to their kids Wednesday morning. Some were tearful and worried.
"These kids can't even live without somebody trying to hurt them or trying to snatch them. We don't have time for that," said Amber Green, a Bryant Elementary parent.
Police said the suspect description is very vague and one of the boys was traumatized by what happened.
Detectives are looking for surveillance cameras in the area that could help the case.
Harvey city officials asked residents to be on guard and told them to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.
"Our presence today can't just end this week or next week. People operate in serial mode, so we're going to stay out here probably throughout the remainder of this summer school session," Howard said.