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A reminder about child safety

Police: Some similiarities between suspicious vehicle, attempted child abduction

YOU CAN HELP - If anyone has information about the Aug. 16 incidents in Genoa City or Hebron, Ill., Village Police Chief Ralph "Homer" Bauman said there are one of three telephone numbers they could call: n The Genoa City Police Department, (262) 279-6252. n The Walworth County Sheriff's Office, (262) 741-4400. n Crime Stoppers, (262) 723-2677.
September 01, 2010 | 08:51 AM
For about an hour every Monday through Friday, children fill the sidewalks hauling their book bags to and from the public schools in Genoa City.

But an attempted child abduction in Hebron, Ill., and a suspicious vehicle complaint in the village prompted the Genoa City Police Department to issue a reminder of how important it is to be wary of strangers.

"I don't want to cause people to panic, but parents should at least know we had an incident that shows some similarities to the one that happened in Illinois," Genoa City Police Chief Ralph "Homer" Bauman said Tuesday.

The incidents occured Aug. 16, but Genoa City police officer Lee Redlin said he issued a statement after he heard about the abduction attempt in Hebron from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Redlin also is an officer in Spring Grove, Ill.

According to Genoa City police, a boy was riding a bicycle Aug. 16 at about 4:25 p.m. when he was approached by a man in a red vehicle in Hebron. The man in the vehicle allegedly asked the boy for directions then "actively tried to get the victim into the car."

Bauman said he received a report Aug. 17 about an alleged suspicious vehicle witnessed Aug. 16 at about 6:30 p.m. He said two girls were playing in Hunter's Ridge subdivision. According to Bauman, one of them was riding a bicycle when a man in a red vehicle was seen near the girl on the bicycle.

"The only action he did was he opened the door, then closed it and drove away," Bauman said. "But he did drive around the block once, so who knows? There could have been a million reasons why he did that."

The vehicle and suspect descriptions in both incidents bear similarities.

According to Genoa City police, the vehicle spotted in Hunter's Ridge was described as being similar to a Chevrolet Cobalt. The driver was described as a white male with light brown hair and either a goatee or a beard. He allegedly had multiple tattos on his arms and was wearing a white T-shirt.

In the Hebron incident, the vehicle was described as a new, red, four-door vehicle similar to a Chevrolet Cobalt with Illinois license plates. The man is believed to be in his late 20s with blond or light brown hair. He was reportedly wearing a white T-shirt and cargo shorts.

Bauman said it's wise for children to heed what they learn about "stranger danger" and other safety tips.

"I would think that if anybody stops a car near a child and that child doesn't know them, they should run to the nearest person they know — an adult or a friend," he said. "There's strength in numbers."

But Bauman also said there is no reason to panic. People should keep a closer eye on their children, especially now that school has begun.

"We just want parents to be aware of the fact that there was an incident close by in Illinos and there was a suspicious incident in Genoa City. ... It's just a reminder," he said.

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