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Suspicious men lurking at Bernon

September 27, 2013

WOONSOCKET – The Police Department is investigating another incident of suspicious men approaching students near a local school, this time the Bernon Heights Elementary School, off Logee Street.

Police reported Friday evening that the incident occurred during the day on Thursday, and parties involved contacted the department about the incident on Friday.

The incident was believed to be similar in nature to incidents reported to the department earlier in the week, according to police.

Two males were reported to be involved in the latest incidents, as was the case in at least one of the two earlier incidents.

The reports prompted the School Department to issue a formal warning to parents on Thursday asking them to be on the alert for any suspicious people approaching local students near their schools.

Patrick McGee, director of curriculum, and Peter Fontaine, director of security and facilities, issued the warning through the department’s communication system, including an all-call phone message, after meeting with Woonsocket Police Detective Matt Ryan over the incidents.
Ryan had notified the School Department that suspicious male adults had been driving or walking around the city’s neighborhood schools trying to encourage students to get into the vehicle with them or walk away with them, the school officials reported.

“We ask that you discuss with your children that under no circumstances are they to get into a car or go with anyone they do not know. We ask that all parents/guardians discuss the serious nature of this situation and that if their children are walkers, we ask that the children walk in groups to and from school,” the school officials said in their notification to school parents and guardians.

School Committeewoman Anita McGuire-Forcier said committee members were notified of at least two separate incidents at the middle school and at an elementary school in which adult males apparently sought to encourage students to get into their cars. In one of the incidents, a student was asked to pet a dog in the attempt to lure them into a car, she said.

Member of the Police Department’s Juvenile Detective Unit were reported to be investigating all the reports received by the department and were working on a possible description of the suspects, police said.

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact police detectives by calling the department at 766-121 or the Police Department’s confidential tip line at 769-4444.

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