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'Potential Luring Incident' Reported in Westwood [UPDATED]

Westwood Police are searching for a man who offered a ride to a girl Thursday morning.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.

Westwood Police are searching for a man involved in a "potential luring incident" Thursday morning, according to Police Captain Frank Durante.

The incident took place on Lafayette Avenue at about 7:10 a.m. when the Westwood Jr./Sr. High School student was walking to school, Durante said. The man allegedly stopped and offered the girl a ride. She declined and reported the incident when she got to school.

Police are searching for information about the man. He was described as being middle-aged and balding with a crew cut. He was driving a gray four-door hatchback with a NYPD sticker in the front left windshield. Police released a sketch of the suspect Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information can contact Westwood Police at 201-664-7000.

Westwood Regional Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller wrote a letter to parents Thursday alerting them to the incident. In the letter, Zoeller wrote that school officials would monitor lunch, recess and dismissal. The district also reiterated the "stranger danger" issue with students Thursday.

"Obviously, this is of significant concern to all of us, particularly in light of recent alleged luring attempts that have occurred in neighboring towns over the past couple of weeks, as well as the Township of Washington in mid-September," Zoeller wrote.

Numerous luring incidents have been reported in Bergen County over the past month. Two incidents were reported in Washington Township in mid September, in which drivers in gray or silver cars offered rides to children on Ridgewood Road.

Police in Oradell are investigating an incident in which a man offered a ride to a 7-year-old boy. Police have said the incident may be related to other luring attempts in Maywood, Hackensack and Hawthorne.

Ridgewood Police reported that three men recently tried to lure a middle school student into their car.

In Ramsey, no recent luring incidents have been reported, but police are stepping up patrols around schools. Police said the recent luring attempts present an opportunity for parents to discuss safety tips with their kids.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

jeff October 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
With all of the parents and some children having cell phone and the ability to receive text messages perhaps we could send out a very brief description of the alleged perpetrator, i.e. Attempted Abduction - Westwood, Mill St & Glen Ct area, gray 4 door hatch back, NYPD sticker on windshield. Please get plate number and call 911. We must stress to ALL, report the incident FAST, many of the reports are reported too late. In this instance, it was reported when she got to school. She should have called 911 if she had a cell phone, if she did not she should have told the crossing guard. Not blaming this girl, just need to have the schools teach them to report right away. The email and phone calls sent out by the school may be used as next response to the text. Image, you have 10 to 20 policeman in Westwood and the surrounding towns looking for this "gray car", if you were to text everyone you would have a thousand eyes assisting in locating this car. You should also link up with other towns to have them send this same text out to the parents in their towns. I would suggest that you at least blanket a 10 town radius around where the incident occurred as it appears that this person is extremely mobile, moving from town to town. We all need to assist the police in apprehending this person, use this tool to assist.
Michael Candullo October 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Have police confirmed that all Bergen County registered sex offenders have been ruled out as suspects?
Norm Bellion October 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Get the plate # if at all possible!

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