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Hingham police urge vigilance after suspicious school bus incidents

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 12, 2012 10:46 AM

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Hingham police say parents should remain wary, after they reported that there may have been two other incidents linked to the Friday encounter in which an 8-year-old boy was offered a ride to school by a stranger.

Officials said two residents contacted police after learning about the Bradley Park Drive incident in which the 8-year-old arrived at the bus stop before his mother and was approached by someone he didn’t recognize.

The stranger, described as a white male in his mid-20s with blackish-brown hair, reportedly offered the youngster a ride to school. When the boy said no, the man drove off. The boy’s mother arrived shortly thereafter, and the boy told her what had occurred. Thinking it was a neighbor, the mother sent out several e-mails asking whether anyone had approached her son, police said.

When she was unable to confirm who the man was, she called police. Police released the information on Friday, and since then two other parents have come forward with reports of similar encounters.

In one report, a mother of a 12-year-old boy said she drove her son to the bus stop at 7 a.m. at the Plymouth River School entrance and waited for the bus with several other parents.

An unknown vehicle was waiting at the school entrance facing the street. When the bus pulled up a short time later, the mother noticed that no student had been waiting inside the unknown vehicle.

The mother approached the driver and asked if he was waiting for someone; the driver said no, that he was doing work nearby and his boss had told him to meet him there. The driver reportedly said, “I guess I am early.”

Although the driver did not approach or talk to any of the children, the mother called police after learning of the Bradley Park Drive incident because the vehicle -- a light colored station wagon -- and driver description were similar.

In the second report, a resident told police she was in her driveway unloading groceries at 12:30 p.m. while her 2- and 4-year-old boys were playing in the front lawn. A light-colored station wagon, driven by a man fitting the description provided in the first and second incidents, drove by slowly. Approximately five minutes later, the same station wagon drove by a second time very slowly in the same direction, the resident told police.

Police emphasized that the incidents may not be related, and that the driver did not approach any children in the latter two. However, because the car and driver descriptions are so similar, and because the incidents happened in the same area and in the same time frame, parents should be aware, police said in a release.

Police are asking anyone with additional information or who may know the identity of the driver to contact Officer Nicholas Smith at 781-749-1212 or leave an anonymous tip on the Drop-A-Dime link on the department’s website.

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