BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Police are still trying to track down a suspicious man they say is approaching children in the Parkside neighborhood.
Tuesday night, police officials told parents what they can do to protect their children.
“We’ve done this for a long time now. If we have any kind of inkling that something’s not right we take action,” said Buffalo Police “D” District Chief Anthony Barba.
Buffalo Police have increased patrols around the Parkside neighborhood following two separate incidents. On March 3, a 10-year-old girl was followed by a man near Jewitt Parkway and Woodward Avenue.
“The one child noticed the car driving around near them for a while,” said Chief Barba.
The second happened April 4, when two students who were walking to St. Mark’s School at Amherst and Summit were followed by a man who at one point got out of his car to approach them.
“Too much similarities between the two incidents and those two children do not go to school together they do not live near each other,” said Chief Barba.
Yet police say they’re giving the same description of the man’s car, a black newer model car with tinted windows. It’s put the neighborhood on edge.
“They already know who they can go with. Anybody else scream, holler, act a fool,” said parent Michael Kelley.
“I’m a little nervous because my daughter catches the Metro bus to school and I just want to know what’s going on in the neighborhood,” said Floral Walton, whose daughter attends school on Parkside.
Chief Barba said, “Right now we don’t have a crime. It’s not a crime to talk to somebody. It would have to be impeding the child’s freedom. Grabbing them, putting them in a car and moving them from where they are.”
Police don’t want it to get that far, so they’re trying to find the man to ask him questions and make sure that he doesn’t have a criminal past preventing him from being around children.
“We don’t hesitate to put it out, to take action, and to do whatever we can before this does become a crime,” said Chief Barba.
Police tell parents to come up with a code word that their children know and to share it with anyone who would be picking up their children, thus ensuring the children know the person is safe. Officers also advise teaching kids to scream and run if a stranger approaches them.
The man is described as white, average height and weight with shoulder length black hair, a scruffy beard, and glasses. Anyone with information should call 847-2255.