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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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False alarm: 'Suspicious' man was parent admonishing Sherman skateboarder

Updated 5:46 pm, Thursday, April 10, 2014
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Police said Thursday afternoon that a Sherman School student's report that he was followed by a stranger who offered him a ride Wednesday, in reality, was a neighborhood parent telling the boy to be more careful on his skateboard.

According to police Capt. Josh Zabin, the man in question called police when he -- along with other parents of Sherman students -- received the initial electronic alert from the school. He told police that the 11-year-old boy was riding a skateboard home from school and apparently cut out in front of the man's car. The man stopped the car to tell the boy to be more careful and take his earbuds out while on the skateboard, Zabin said.

The man, also a Sherman parent, then pulled over to make a call, Zabin said. When he reached the intersection of Quincy and Fox streets and saw the skateboarder again, he told police he then joked with the boy that if he'd known they were traveling in the same direction, he would have caught a ride with the boy.

The student, according to police, had reported that the man offered him a ride when he was near the Fern Street school, and after the boy declined, then followed him. The man asked again if the boy wanted a ride when he was near the corner of Quincy and Fox streets, according to the initial report.

The boy told police he had never seen the man before, and was unable to give any more detailed description.

An officer was to be stationed outside the school Thursday at dismissal. Police Sgt. Ed Weihe, of the school security detail, said that as a precaution children should routinely walk in a group or at least with a known companion; use routes that are busier, open and well lit; never approach a strange vehicle; avoid strangers attempting to engage them in a conversation, and tell an adult they trust immediately if they think they have been followed.

The complete statement on the incident was posted on the public schools' website: http://bit.ly/1iyfrWh