BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Police have released the sketch of a suspect wanted for allegedly trying to lure an 11-year-old girl into a van on Long Island.
The incident happened around 8:20 a.m. Monday in Baldwin when the girl was off of school in observance of Columbus Day, police said.
The man approached the girl near Central Avenue and Clinton Place and tried to convince her to join him to search for his missing cat, police said.
But the girl, whose parents do not want her identified, told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff she knew to walk away and take mental notes. Her description helped police create a composite sketch of the suspect, Gusoff reported.
Neighbors said they are in disbelief that this happened in their community.
“It’s shocking. I’ve lived here for 15 years and nothing like this happened,” neighbor Gerald Mastroianni told Gusoff.
“It’s very concerning. You want to build a bubble around your kids. It’s sad,” neighbor Renee Mittasch added.
“I think everybody has to take precautions with their children today,” Gaylani Jewett said.
Baldwin school officials said they are warning parents with robocalls and urging them to review stranger security rules with their children, Gusoff reported.
The suspect is believed to be about 35 to 40 years old, with bushy eyebrows, a birthmark or mole next to his right eye and hair on his chin, police said.
He was driving a white colored van with damage to the passenger side door and was last seen heading northbound on Central Avenue, police said.
Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.