Parents fearful as detectives seek 'person of interest' in two incidents involving children

Posted at 9:29 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-25 18:08:55-04

Childhood games with neighborhood kids used to be a common sight for a father of two and Lake Charleston resident Shawn Lavine.  But with a potential predator in their midst, that has changed.

“There’s definitely less kids playing in the streets,” said Lavine.  “They used to play kickball, ride their bikes and play whiffle ball, but things have slowed down a bit.  Parents are keeping them inside.”

According to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies, the “person of interest” in a released sketch is the same man who approached multiple children on two separate occasions.

On January 31, deputies said the man offered two children candy while walking home from school near Winder Ct. before they said no and ran away.

Most recently, on February, 14 witnesses in the neighborhood said they saw the same man in an attempted abduction. 

In both cases the children said the man drove a dirty white van with a metal grate separating the front seat from the back.

“Before this all happened we weren’t so concerned about letting the kids out of our site for a minute or two,” said Lavine.  “But now, if we have to run in the house we make sure they come in with us and they’re not out playing by themselves.  It makes us worried for our kids.”

The school district says School Police have stepped up their presence at Manatee Elementary in Lake Charleston as a precaution.