Police in several northern New Jersey towns are investigating after getting multiple reports of suspects trying to lure children into cars over the last two weeks.
Seven attempted lurings have been reported in several Bergen County towns since March 10, according to police and news reports. It's not clear if all the attempts are connected, but the same man is suspected in at least three attempted lurings in Leonia last week.
The most recent reports came Monday in nearby Hackensack and Wyckoff.
In Hackensack, a man in his 20s or 30s drove up to a student on the way to Hackensack Middle School in a black sedan and claimed he had a dog, police say. When the student ran away, the man drove off.
Later in the day in Wyckoff, police say two men in a gold car tried to lure someone near Everett and Wyckoff avenues. No description of the victim or suspects was given.
In Leonia, the same man is suspected of trying to get girls into his car on three occasions last week, police there say.
In the first two, both on Wednesday and less than half an hour apart, the suspect drove up to groups of two girls in a light blue SUV and asked for directions. Both times, he made sexually explicit comments and drove off when one of the girls told him where to go.
In the third reported luring, on Thursday, the suspect drove a gold Honda sedan up to a 13-year-old girl walking to school, rolled down his window and asked her to get in his car so she could show him where the post office was, police say. The girl told police she said “no thank you” and ran away. She told police she saw an upset-looking girl between 10 and 12 years old in the back seat.
After Thursday’s reported attempt, the superintendent of schools in Leonia sent a letter to parents saying teachers were reminding students about safety precautions while walking to and from school.
Two other lurings were reported earlier last week in Ridgefield Park and Norwood, reports the Bergen Record.