Hunt continues for would-be abductor

Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012

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Invercargill police are continuing the hunt for a man who has been approaching girls and trying to lure them into the back of a white van, amid fears he may strike again.

Several people have called to report alleged sightings of the man after a police appeal yesterday.

A man with grey-silver hair tried to get a 17-year-old girl into a white van in George St in Windsor around 9.45am-10am on Sunday.

It was not the first time a man matching that description had attempted to abduct a girl, police said.

On November 15, a man, described as European, with grey hair, and in a white van, approached a 17-year-old girl walking along Layard St near James Hargest College.

He tried to grab her arm, but she ran away.

Police are keeping an open mind about the connection between the two incidents but noted the similarities.

Yesterday, acting Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Bowman said police were concerned the man could strike again.

If anyone believed they had information relating to the offender or his van they should call police, he said.

There had been several calls yesterday, but none were confirmed as the suspect van.

"A number of people have rung in with sightings," he said.

"People have been more observant and alert, which is exactly what we want."

Mr Bowman reiterated the need for parents to talk to their children about stranger danger and how to respond if they were approached.

Schools had been contacted after the November 15 incident, he said.

However, there was no need to panic.

"We do not want to create hysteria," Mr Bowman said.

"We are just asking people to be vigilant . . . and reinforce to children the need to be mindful about strangers."

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- The Southland Times

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