Incidents around schools prompt warning to parents | SteamboatToday.com

Incidents around schools prompt warning to parents

A group of Steamboat Springs High School students walk towards the school on the first day of class in 2012.

— The Steamboat Springs School District and Steamboat Police Department are warning parents about suspicious cars and a report of a stranger asking a student if she wanted a ride.

Police Commander Jerry Stabile said the department is investigating three separate incidents.

At about 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 14, a high school girl was walking on 13th Street and felt like she was being followed by a white work van with no signage.

The driver asked the girl if she needed a ride, and she refused.

The driver was a white man in his 30s, described as “burly” with shoulder-length, reddish-brown hair and a long “Ducky-Dynasty-style” beard.

The girl got on a city bus and got off at Third Street and walked toward school. The girl thought she saw the van a couple blocks away. The girl saw the van again when she walked into the high school parking lot.

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Another incident happened Oct. 20. A girl was leaving a Girl Scouts meeting at Emerald Mountain School when she thought someone driving a dark-colored Subaru from the early 2000s was following her. The girl moved to the side of the road, but the car did not pass her. The man driving the car appeared to be staring at her, and she went to a nearby home acting like it was hers.

The driver was described as a white man with shoulder-length blond hair.

The girl’s parent reported the incident to police. Later, the parent spoke with a friend, who said a similar incident happened to his daughter.

The young girl was riding her bike home from the downtown area when she thought a man driving what was described as a purple Subaru was following her. That driver was also a white man with shoulder-length blond hair.

The girl safely biked to her grandfather’s house.

“All our officers have knowledge of these situations, and we’re stepping up patrols of school zones," Stabile said.

Superintendent Brad Meeks emailed parents about the incidents Wednesday, and he asked parents to talk to their children about what they should do if they are approached by a stranger or unknown vehicle.

Stabile said these incidents should be reported immediately to police. Parents should talk to their children about remembering details from the incident, such as what the person looked like and what kind of car they were driving. Getting the license plate number would also help police.

Stabile said if a child is in an uncomfortable situation, they should get to an area where there are people and find a trusted adult.

And most importantly, Stabile said children should not get into a car with someone they do not know.

People are asked to call the police department at 970-879-4344 if they have additional information about the incidents.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.