NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – New London police are investigating a report of a man allegedly attempting to lure children into a van, according to authorities.
The New London Police Department said on Tuesday officers are searching for a white van with tinted windows and no registration or plates. Police described the suspect as a white or Hispanic man with black hair and a black/greyish beard.
“Whether or not these incidents are underreported or not, we don’t know,” New London Police Captain Matthew Galante said. “That’s part of the reason for the public service announcement.”
Galante said they’ve received two reports so far, one in the south end and the other along Jefferson Avenue.
Police confirmed that at the time of this report, no children were reported missing.
Residents in the area said they’re concerned for their children and young siblings.
“I have six daughters, and I worry about things like that,” said Trey, a New London resident who declined to give his last name. “You have to worry about things like that. I advise my daughters not to go outside without the dog.”
“It’s a little nerve-racking because anything or anyone, at any point, can lure them in that car and that’d be it,” Dazyha Phillips, another New London resident, said. “You won’t be able to see them.”
The police department is in contact with New London Public Schools regarding the reports.
Anyone with information on the suspect vehicle or man involved is asked to contact the New London Police Department at 860-447-5269. Anonymous information can also be submitted through the New London Tips 411 system by texting NLPDTip plus the information to Tip411 (847411).
Police said, when reporting suspicious activity, it is most helpful to provide an accurate description with the following information:
- Brief description of the activity
- Date, time and location of the activity
- Physical identifiers of anyone you noticed
- Descriptions of vehicles observed
- Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have headed
- Your name and contact information
New London police also shared tips to help keep your child safe:
- Authorities recommend children try to stay in groups, as there is strength in numbers
- Take the time to get to know your surroundings
- Be aware that the most dangerous times for children can be just before school starts and ends
- Dangerous individuals can look friendly or normal, they do not always look evil
- Children should not speak to anyone they do not know
- Children should stay on sidewalks or at least six feet from the street
- Kids should stay away from vehicles
- Children should never approach a car or truck no matter what the occupants say
- If someone grabs a child, the child should scream “Help me, call the police”
- When children think they see a dangerous situation, they should run and tell an adult immediately
- Remember to recognize, react and report