ALERT: Ohio AG warns of multiple child lurings possibly by same - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

ALERT: Ohio AG warns of multiple child lurings possibly by same suspect

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OHIO (WOIO) -

The Ohio Attorney General is warning parents about multiple child enticement attempts that appear to be committed by the same person.

In each case, the suspect has approached girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 15 while driving a white, windowless panel van that is believed to be a commercial vehicle.

The driver has then encouraged the kids to talk with him and get into the van.

At the time of each incident, the children had all been walking home after school.

It has happened all over Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan for the past several months.

In Ohio, incidents have occurred in Parma Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Sylvania Township in Lucas County, Westerville in Franklin County, Hamilton in Butler County and Junction City in Perry County.

The suspect is a white man in his mid to late 40s or early 50s, 5'8" - 5'9" with brown hair and a possible mustache. He's been seen wearing a baseball hat with glasses or sunglasses.

"Our agents are working right now to determine if these cases are connected, but regardless of whether these crimes are being committed by one person or multiple offenders, it is a very serious situation," said Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Last week, agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), which includes the Crimes Against Children and Missing Persons Units, issued a statewide alert to law enforcement to make them aware of the incidents that have happened in the past several months and weeks.

"Luckily, none of these children gave in to these attempts," said Attorney General DeWine. "They knew exactly what to do."

If the cases are connected, agents suspect that the individual is someone whose job requires him to travel frequently. 

Anyone involved in a situation of this nature should immediately contact their local law enforcement agency. Anyone with additional information regarding previous crimes similar to the described incidents should also contact their local police or BCI at 855-BCI-OHIO. 

If approached by a stranger, Attorney General DeWine suggests that children:

  • Make a commotion; Yell 'No!' or 'Help!'
  • Run away immediately.
  • Keep a large distance between themselves and a vehicle, if approached by someone in a car. 
  • Take all suspicious situations seriously; Do not be afraid to hurt a person's feelings by screaming or running.
  • If possible, consciously make note of details such as a person's appearance, clothing, vehicle, and license plate.
  • Know that it is OK to tell your parents what happened; Do not feel ashamed.

Attorney General DeWine also said that parents should:

  • Walk to and from school with their children or arrange for them to walk with friends.
  • Know the route their children take to and from school.
  •  Walk with their children along the route and identify safe places to go if an incident occurs.

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