Abduction attempts leave parents on edge

Toledo's third child abduction attempt in just three weeks is especially alarming to some local parents because it happened in broad daylight in a busy area. The reported incident took place around 10 a.m. at the 2600 block of West Sylvania Ave. near Douglas.

According to police, a 17 year-old Horizon Science Academy student said a man approached her - first on foot - before hopping into a white panel van and asking her to get in. That's when she fled inside the school and called police.

Sergeant Joe Heffernan with the Toledo Police Department said the student did the right thing. "This girl realized this was out of the ordinary and she felt threatened by this person's actions. She was alert enough to get a license plate number and a good description of the person."

The man is described as a light-skinned black man around 5' 9", in his 30s or 40s. He was wearing a brown jacket and a dew rag on his head at the time of the incident. Police do not believe he is the same suspect from other recent incidents.

Sgt. Heffernan said TPD is working with other law enforecement partners to put more coverage on the streets during, before and after school hours.

Toledo Public Schools assistant superintendent Brian Murphy says the district is also working to prevent further incidents. "We encourage our kids to make sure they walk in groups," said Murphy. "We encourage our kids to make sure they understand their surroundings and they're conscious of their surroundings, and we encourage them to report situations like this."

Parent Willie Geiser said he worries for the safety of his two children - both high schoolers at Springfield High School. "It scares the hell out of you as a parent because it seems to happen so often anymore, and you can't be paranoid enough."