The Nassau County Police Department’s 1st Precinct is investigating multiple recent incidents in which young adolescents were approached in the Merrick-Bellmore area by a man or men in recent weeks.
At 7:45 a.m. on Friday, a Merrick Avenue Middle School eighth-grader was reportedly approached while walking to school by a Hispanic man who spoke only Spanish. The incident took place at Merrick Avenue and Smith Street, according to MAMS Principal Meador Pratt, who immediately sent out a notice to parents.
The man may have attempted to grab the boy, police said, but officials were uncertain what his intentions were because the boy could not understand Spanish. According to a Nassau County Police Department spokeswoman, the man put his hand out and gestured toward the boy, but it was unclear whether he attempted to grab or abduct the student. The boy ran off and was unharmed. He then reported the incident. Police combed the area in search of the man, but could not find him.
“As a school community,” Pratt said, “we will continue to work with the 1st Precinct to ensure the safety of our students. As we have recently stressed, please continue to reinforce safety precautions with your child.”
In a separate incident, three sixth-graders were walking home from school on the afternoon of Friday, April 19, when a man driving a four-door “grayish car” approached them, according to an email that North Merrick Superintendent David Feller sent to parents. The driver attempted to speak with the students, who ran away.
“Please use this opportunity to discuss basic safety protocols with your children,” Feller wrote. “Also, immediately contact the police if you see this vehicle or see anything else that compromises the safety of our children.”
A driver of a green sedan tried to get two MAMS students, who were walking home from school, to come to his car at 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, at Camp and Richard avenues in Merrick, according to an email that Pratt sent to parents. The email said the driver “appeared to be a Hispanic male in his 30s.” The students walked away from the car and called an adult family member.