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Police on the lookout for Lansingburgh lurker
LANSINGBURGH -- On the lookout. Police are hoping to nab a man teenagers say is trying to lure them to his car while performing a lewd act in Lansingburgh, right around school. Troy officers received reports that the man approached 5 to 6 students in the last week between 102 and 110th streets. While they look for the suspect they're issuing a warning to parents and students.
According to the administration, that's because the man is prowling as kids leave at the end of the regular school day or for after-school activities. Police believe he's targeting girls aged 13-17.
The district has been speaking to students about safety precautions but after an initial report that he blocked an alleyway where kids normally walk, more information has been released.
1:59-2:06 "Students feel invincible at times so we want to make sure they understand that there are protocols to follow to be safe," said Frank Macri, Lansingburgh High School principal.
Troy police are now looking for a man allegedly looking for kids on their way to Lansingburgh schools. He's said to be a white man in a black sedan blocking alleyways or areas where kids walk.
"He's called the victims over to the car in each case, he specifically references 'have you seen my black dog' and for all the right reasons the victims will make that initial approach to acknowledge the request and immediately upon approaching the vehicle they see what is certainly lewd conduct," said Troy Police Captain John Cooney.
About 300 students, half of those at Lansingburgh High School, walk to and from classes every day.
"The reports that we received from the police and then in talking to the student -- this was something that was happening after school," said superintendent Cynthia DeDominick. "We've encouraged students and their families to be vigilant morning and afternoon."
So the district has spoken to students and recommended they be aware of their surroundings. Walk with someone. Don't talk to strangers. Don't walk in alleyways -- stay on main roads. And if someone does approach you, go to the nearest home and seek an adult's help.
"If you can pick up your child during this time or call your child on their cell phones before they leave school or have them contact you when they get home from school," Macri said.
Police hope the attention alerts someone to turn the man in. He may be familiar with or from the area, and they fear he'll move on to another school. "There's nothing for a child to be embarassed about by being exposed to this type of sick conduct," Cooney said. "If anything them coming forward will only get the word out to hopefully prevent it from happening to other kids in the neighborhood."
Police believe the man isn't trying to abduct children but is behaving inappropriately when he sees them. As a result, the kids are traumatized according to police and right now, making it hard for them to get a better description on the suspect. They're asking for your help -- if you notice anything, give them a call.
The Lansingburgh School District has a resource officer, but some staff has actually been driving around the neighborhood near the school to look for the suspect.