LANCASTER — Police say they are investigating a series of incidents involving an unknown male suspect chasing, following or harassing School District of Lancaster students on their way to or from school in the northwest section of the city this week.
There have been at least three incidents of that nature, according to police.
The first incident occurred around 3:41 p.m. on Monday, police say. According to police, an unknown man chased a student and her siblings for half a block on the 500 block of West Walnut St. The man was on foot, and was last seen in an alley that runs parallel to Walnut Street, police say. Officers checked the area, but were unable to locate the supect.
The second incident occurred Wednesday at 7:45 a.m., police say. A student walking on the 200 block of West James St. reported that she noticed an unknown man walking behind her. The man stopped following her when he noticed she was using a cell phone to contact a family member who lived on the 400 block of N. Concord St., police say.
The family member reportedly came and checked the area, but did not see anyone. The second incident was reported to police Wednesday at about 1:02 p.m.
In the third incident, which occurred Wednesday at about 3:27 p.m. at the intersection of West James and North Mulberry streets, the same student from the second incident reported that she noticed the same male suspect, this time riding a bike. He reportedly followed several students, telling them he had candy. The students ran toward the Boys & Girls Club/Linear Park area and last saw the man on the 200 block of W. Lemon St., police say.
The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5-10, with a thin build, brown hair, and facial hair. Descriptions of his age vary, police say.
Officers have conducted uniform and plainclothes details in the area for the last two days, but have not seen anyone matching the suspect’s description, police say. Officers will continue to have an increased presence in the area, according to police.
If any students experienced similar encounters, police are urging them to come forward and file a report with the Lancaster Bureau of Police.
Police also advise students not to walk alone, to alter their routes to and from school, avoid shortcuts, and stick to main roads that have heavy traffic and high visibility. Students are urged to avoid accepting anything from strangers, police say.
Any student who feels they are being followed should go to an area where other people are gathered, call police (911 for emergencies or 717-664-1180 for non-emergencies), or find a trusted adult.