Gardner, Hubbardston police warn of older man trying to lure girls into white van

GARDNER, MASS. (WHDH) - Police in two towns are asking for the public to stay alert after at least three reports of a man trying to lure girls into a van.

Hubbardston police are investigating a report of a man acting suspiciously toward two 11-year-old girls who were waiting for a school bus Monday morning.

“They saw a white van, it had tinted back windows, male party driving it with a hat and some glasses on,” Sergeant Ryan Couture said. “They noticed him with a cell phone out the window. He was taking pictures or video of them. They then ran in the house and told their mother.”

Then on Tuesday evening in Gardner, police said two young girls were approached by an older man with blonde hair, also in a white van. The girls ran away when the man asked them to get in his car and offered them candy, police added.

“It could be connected,” Couture said. “We’re not positive at this point, we’re still investigating, but the white van connection is all we really have to go on at this point.”

Police also have a report of an older man with “Einstein-like hair” in a black sedan approaching a 14-year-old girl who was out running near a pond in Hubbardston Wednesday.

“He started asking her some questions about where she lived and the area and things like that,” Couture said. “It made her a little uncomfortable, obviously.”

Concerned residents are planning on being more vigilant of suspicious activity like this.

“It’s scary,” said local parent Elaina Allen. “We’re a small town, but lately we’ve had a lot going on so it reminds you that you’ve got to pay attention at all times.”

“It’s very important that the community becomes diligent,” added local resident Mark Silveira. “People have got to talk with one another, they’ve got to keep their eyes open in situations like this, and of course if you see anything suspicious, always report it.”

Police are asking for the public’s help in gathering more information, adding that the girls in these cases all did the right thing in running away.

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