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Unclear if Overland Park incident was abduction attempt

Updated: 2013-02-15T03:12:45Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

A girl on her way to school reported that she was approached by a man, but police weren’t sure Thursday if it was an attempted abduction.

The Overland Park incident happened about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday near 103rd and Goddard streets as the 13-year-old girl was headed to Holy Spirit Catholic School a few blocks away at 11300 W. 103rd St.

The girl told police that a car stopped in the middle of Goddard and the driver turned on the car’s hazard lights. A man got out carrying a rag and walked around the front of the car, said Officer Gary Mason, an Overland Park police spokesman.

The girl became scared because she felt the man was walking in her direction so she fled with her bicycle.

Police don’t know if the incident was an abduction attempt or the driver was having car problems.

“It is hard to say what his intent was,” Mason said. “We are looking into it.”

But because of other recent reports of attempted abductions, police plan to step up patrols around schools.

The reports started Jan. 25 when a girl told police that three men tried to abduct her on the way to school. She ran when they chased her on 67th Street just east of Lackman Road in Shawnee.

On Feb. 1, a boy said a man got out of an SUV and tried to grab him in the 7400 block of Bond Street in Shawnee.

On Feb. 5, a 14-year-old girl told police that a driver stopped near 80th and Glenwood streets in Overland Park. The man, who was holding a gun, told her to get inside his pickup.

In all three incidents, the children escaped unharmed.

Police are asking people to be on alert and to report any suspicious activity they see. They also stressed that adults should not approach children they don’t know, especially now in light of the recent abduction attempts.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at cronkb.

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