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Police Investigate Report of Suspicious Man Near School

St. Joseph police are investigating reports of a man targeting children near Hosea Elementary School.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph police are investigating a report of a suspicious man near a St. Joseph elementary school Tuesday evening.

Police confirmed a report of a man targeting children around Hosea Elementary School. They said he allegedly tried to coax them to his car with candy.

According to police, detectives are interviewing children who have had alleged encounters with the man. Police have questioned a man in the case, but they are continuing to follow leads. So far, no arrests have been made.

"I know people that go over there and it's so close to here. It makes me worry if some kid did get in the car," said Merissa Burchett.

Burchett lives near Hosea School and the incident has her on edge.

"That's a scary thought cause that's like little kids that it's happening to," added Burchett.

Police are asking parents to keep a look out for children.

"Most officers have children so the foremost first concern we have is to make sure the kids are safe," said Sergeant Shawn Green with the St. Joseph Police Department.

Green suggests parents and people in the community be vigilant and look out for the children that are around because incidents like this happen.

Hosea sent a letter home to parents Wednesday describing the situation. The suspects vehicle has been described as a white extended cab Ford F-150 truck.

The letter to parents also mentioned a maroon Trailblazer, but police said Thursday the truck is the only vehicle linked to the investigation.

Assistant Principal Kara Anderson said in the letter that Hosea's patrols have been asked to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

"The patrols are equipped with a walkie talkie and can call immediately if they need anything," she stated.

They are constantly reminding children about stranger danger.

"We don't want anything to happen to our students and so it is very important that we do continue to remind them of the dangers that are lurking in any community," said Anderson.

The school has safety patrols set up in the neighborhood during dismissal.

Anderson, like many others, says she's thankful the children were able to escape unharmed.

"As a parent but also as an administrator in this district it makes me feel very proud to live in a community that would take something this as seriously," said Anderson.


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