Man in van approached 9-year-old girl, offered her ride, Orange Co. deputies say

By Lisa Bell, Anchor, lbell@clickorlando.com
Published On: May 16 2013 05:15:55 PM EDT
Updated On: May 17 2013 12:03:59 AM EDT

The Orange County Sheriff's office is investigating a possible attempted abduction after a male stranger in a white van approached a 9-year-old girl.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -

The Orange County Sheriff's office is investigating a possible attempted abduction after a male stranger in a white van approached a 9-year-old girl.

It's the latest in a string of suspicious incidents across Orange County.

The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in the girl's Kensington Park subdivision off Conroy-Windermere Road.

According to a sheriff's office report, the girl was walking to the Kensington Park tennis courts for practice when she noticed an older white utility van slowly following her.

The man rolled down his window and asked her where she was going and if she needed ride. According to the report, the man then got out of the van, opened the passenger door and said "It's alright I will help you in."

That's when the little girl ran away and told her parents about the incident.

Palm Lake Elementary School sent out an alert to parents about the suspicious incident, saying the student "knew enough to decline and run to safety."

Local 6 has learned authorities are now investigating six other similar scares across Orange County.

In April, a man approached a child near Winter Park's Windsong neighborhood. On April 10, a man driving a white van with a yellow ladder on the roof "motioned" to a young boy on Taylor Avenue in Winter Park. The incident was enough to scare the boy, who hid in his neighbor's backyard until the man drove away.

On April 25th, a man driving a white van was approaching children in Apopka asking them to help him wash his van and whether their parents were around. Police stopped and questioned that man, who told authorities he was only trying to determine if it was a safe neighborhood because he was thinking about moving there from his current residence in Winter Park.

On May 9, Apopka police received another call regarding a man driving a white car who was taking pictures of children with his iPad in the Arbor Ridge subdivision.

However, Apopka police told Local 6, they do not believe the same man is responsible for both incidents.

On May 11, two girls, ages 12 and 8, were sitting in their parents' car in an ally behind their Baldwin Park home when they were approached by a man driving a white van with a yellow ladder on the roof. The man pulled up next to the girls, he got out, walked toward the girls' car until he was within 3 yards of the vehicle. The 12 year old became scared and hit the vehicle's panic button. The girls then ran inside their house and the man took off. They described the man as extremely pale, wearing glasses and in his mid 50s.

On May 13, it's believed the same man was spotted driving around Baldwin Park.

In the most recent incident, the 9-year-old girl describes the suspect as being a white man, approximately 30 years old with black hair and a skinny build.

The girl told detectives the suspect was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jean pants. The suspect's pants were rolled up and the girl noticed that the suspect had a dragon tattooed on his right ankle. She also stated the suspect was clean shaven and had no accent.

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