Two separate children were approached by a suspect who tried to lure them into his vehicle Wednesday. The suspect is believed to be the same man police are seeking in a child-annoyance incident at the same school on March 24, in which a suspect tried to lure two young girls into his van.
Wednesday's attempt took place on the playground of Lee Elementary School in the small and affluent community of Rossmoor. The suspect approached the first child, a fourth-grade boy, at about 12:30 p.m., offering him candy to try to get him into his van, according to Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. About 10 minutes later, the suspect told a 7-year-old girl that he was going to kidnap her after school.
The two children ran away and reported the incident to an adult.
Detectives said the suspect and the vehicle he was riding in match the description of the March 24 suspect.
On March 24, two girls were on a playground at Lee Elementary School around 11:30 a.m. when they were approached by a suspect.
The man stood by the rear of his minivan, told the girls to "Come here," and motioned toward them. The girls ran off and hid in nearby bushes.
The suspect then got into the van, where another male suspect was waiting. The men drove around the area searching for the girls, police said. After a few minutes, the vehicle drove southbound on Foster Road from the school. The girls then reported the incident.
The suspect was described as a white man in his mid to late 50s. He was bald or had short hair and was wearing a plaid shirt.
The passenger was described as a male between 16 to 18 years old with blond hair.
The van was described as a gray or silver minivan with a missing rear window.
"Student safety is our No. 1 priority, so this is really detrimental to us and to our families. It makes people afraid," said Sherry Kropp, the Los Alamitos Unified School District superintendent, on Wednesday
Kropp advised parents or guardians to not let children walk to or from school alone.
Anyone with information was asked to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS or (855) 847-6227.
An Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman said the two girls in the March 24 incident did everything correctly, as did the two children Wednesday.