Police look for suspect in attempted child abductions

One attempt was at Sebastian Elementary School

A community is on alert tonight after three incidents where a stranger tried to abduct a young child on or near an elementary school in Indian River County.


Parents of students at Sebastian Elementary School Monday received a note explaining that student safety is a top priority and that security has been beefed up on campus. Students also received a lesson in "Stranger Danger" from the Sebastian Police Department.


 "You're not going to tell a stranger your name right?" That's Officer Steve Marcinik addressing hundreds of students in the Sebastian Elementary cafeteria.


"No!" the students shout back in unison.


This assembly Monday afternoon came as police investigate three incidents last week where children were approached by possibly the same person.


Last Thursday morning, a 9 year-old told her mom that a man was outside the parent pick up and drop off area at the school and tried to get her to go into his car.  


"That's extremely brazen in that you don't know to what extent some of these people will go to," said Officer Marcinik.


Then Thursday afternoon, a girl was riding her bicycle home from school when she was confronted at Easy Street and Sebastian Boulevard. The suspect pulled up next to the girl and said he was a police officer and that she needed to get in the car with him. He also flashed some type of silver star badge. She refused and the suspect drove off.  The third incident involved children at a day care center nearby waiting for a bus when they were approached.


The principal at Sebastian Elementary says student safety is their top priority and they have beefed up security on campus.


 "We have policies in place to make sure students are safe when they are on campus but we are under a heightened alert now," said Letitia Hart.


Parents said while this is scary, they have confidence in the school and law enforcement.   


 "I've known Michelle, the police chief of Sebastian, since I was in junior High School and I know no one is going to snag any kids from here," said Dan Brognano as he put his two kids in the car.


Officer Marcinik says it's especially important to have this talk with the kids with Halloween on Wednesday.


"It is so important to know where your children are. Supervise them.  Make sure they're with people that you know and you trust," he added.


Officer Marcinik is hoping that in a school cited for its model behavior, kids will continue to remember how to act if they feel in danger.


The suspect is described as a black male believed to be in his 40's balding with a thin mustache.  He was driving a dark blue sedan either two or four-door, police say.


If you have any information, you're asked to call the Sebastian Police Department, or 9-1-1.

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