Police investigating attempted abductions complaints near Hunting Park school

Posted: February 27, 2014

AN INVESTIGATION into reports that a man has been accosting students near a North Philadelphia elementary school is underway, police confirmed yesterday.

The alleged incidents happened near Mary Bethune Elementary School, at Old York Road and Germantown Avenue, on Friday and Monday. Police said they are also investigating whether the same man, who is believed to frequent the area around the school, may have also accosted kids in other incidents.

In the more recent incident, about 8 a.m. Monday, police said the man approached a young boy about two blocks from the school and grabbed him. Other children intervened, throwing rocks at the man, causing him to let go of the boy and flee, according to investigators.

In Friday's incident, the man allegedly grabbed a girl's arm near the school, but she was able to break free and get away.

Detectives from the Special Victims Unit are investigating.

The school sent a letter home to parents and guardians after both incidents, urging them to talk with their children about strangers and walking in groups.

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said the district has shifted more police to the area to be on the lookout.

"Philadelphia police are doing that also," Gallard said. "That started Friday when we got the first notification that something occurred in the neighborhood."

Gallard said the district is cooperating with police in the investigations.

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