Police in SW Minneapolis on extra patrols because of luring incidents

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 20, 2013 - 7:55 PM

Police said it’s unknown if the incidents are related.

A man driving a dirty, white or cream cargo van with no rear windows approached a 13-year-old girl May 2 at 8:45 a.m. near 58th Street West and Lyndale Avenue South in what police said Monday was one of several recent luring incidents.

The man said “hello” and then blocked her path but she was able to run away. Police said the man was white, 40 to 45 years old, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-11 and wearing a gray and white winter jacket and light blue or off-white khaki pants.

Police are conducting extra patrols on foot, in squad cars and on bikes because of the incidents in southwest Minneapolis. It’s unknown if the incidents are related, said police. The suspect descriptions in the most recent cases were not as detailed as the first one.

On May 5, three men ages 30 to 45 approached a 13-year-old girl at 2:25 p.m. near 36th Street West and Zenith Avenue South. One of the men grabbed the girl’s wrist and told her to be quiet or she would be hurt, according to police. The girl ran. No vehicle was involved.

On May 16, at 4:30 p.m. near 54th Street West and Lyndale Avenue South, a man driving a white, older cargo van with chipped paint pulled alongside two 13-year-old girls. One of the van’s occupants opened the vehicle’s sliding door as if to invite the girls inside. The girls ran away. The men made no effort to follow them.

Aside from these incidents, police have also learned about two cases that they consider suspicious: On May 13 at 6:10 p.m. near 41st Street West and Dupont Avenue South, a white Toyota Camry with Colorado license plates appeared to be following a 13-year-old girl who was walking her dog. And on May 13 through the 17th, a man was seen near 58th Street West and Wentworth Avenue South loitering in the area, possibly taking pictures of children.

The Police Department advised people to call 911 if they see something suspicious. The department also asked parents to speak with police directly if their child reports anything similar to these cases, even if time has passed.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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