Police investigating if attempted van lurings linked
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2012 6:03PM EST
Parents in several areas south of Ottawa are being warned about multiple instances of men trying to lure children into their van.
There have been four reports of a suspicious van around eastern Ontario that approached children on three occasions this month.
Hilairy Walters is a mother in Carleton Place, who got a call from her son's school warning her about the incidents.
"I hung up the phone, sat for a moment and was really baffled," she said. "It got me concerned."
The first sighting came Feb. 8 in Kemptville, when a man unsuccessfully asked a ten-year-old boy to get into his van near South Branch Elementary.
A similar van was seen in Smiths Falls the next day, followed by a driver of a black van asking a teenaged girl in Merrickville if she wanted a drive on Feb. 16, which she refused.
On Feb. 17 a child was approached by a man in a white van in Cardinal, near Prescott.
The suspect descriptions are so vague, police said they're reluctant to make a connection between the four cases.
Still, they asked the public and Catholic school boards in the region to warn parents.
"This is a police matter, so if parents are concerned they should contact their local police," said Bill Gartland from the Eastern Ontario Catholic School Board.
He said they told Kemptville parents after the spotting there and notified others once they got more information from police.
Walters said parents should have been informed earlier since the incidents were happening as close as half an hour away.
"We should have all been notified all at the same time, especially when it's a small community, because we can be very proactive," she said.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem