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Police release more information about suspicious white van

Driver who allegedly tried to lure students in van is still unidentified

Posted: December 14, 2012 - 5:06pm

The police have released additional descriptors of a white van whose driver is suspected of approaching elementary students at a bus stop in Douglas on Thursday morning. 

Police spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills says the van is two colors — the upper portion is white, and the lower portion is black. It’s roof may also be red, she said.

“It’s unclear how much red, or if it was the whole roof or just part of the roof,” Brown-Mills said in a phone interview late Friday afternoon. “However, there’s some red on it.”

“The wheels may or may not be spray-painted red,” Brown-Mills added.

The Juneau Police Department is still seeking the unidentified male driver who allegedly tried to convince two Gastineau Elementary School students that he was supposed to pick them up from the David Street bus stop. The two boys declined the ride, and the incident was reported to police at about 9 a.m.

No persons of interest have been identified, and no arrests were made in the case by the end of Friday, according to Brown-Mills.

Police previously asked the public to help identify the man and the vehicle. They earlier described the van as being white and as only having front windows. Brown-Mills said they have received “lots of response” from the community in the past 24 hours, reporting white van sightings.

“We’re very thankful with all the calls that we’ve had, and we’re glad to be able to give more information about the van, and these more distinctive features of it so that we can narrow that down because there’s a lot of white vans in Juneau,” Brown-Mills said.

Police have not released an image of what they think the man looks like, but they have released what they believe is a general physical description. Police say he’s a white man, about 5’8” and 5’11” tall. He has a medium build, long black hair pulled back into a ponytail, and a neck tattoo that would only be half visible if he was wearing a T-shirt. He was apparently wearing a top hat and sunglasses, police said in the earlier release.

The boys that were allegedly approached have not been identified since they are minors. They were standing at a bus stop along Douglas Highway by David Street when the driver of the van told them their parents had sent him to pick them up, according to police.

This is the first such incident reported this school year, and it prompted school officials to remind students about ‘stranger danger.’

A similar incident was reported at the same school last school year in April, and police at first said they did not know if the two instances were connected.

Police now say they believe two incidents are unrelated since the suspect in this case does not match the other suspect’s physical description.

The suspect in the prior case, who was never identified, was described as being of medium build with black tight curly hair and facial hair. He was reportedly driving a small dark green car, police said at the time.

“We do not believe it is (related),” Brown-Mills said in the phone interview. “The descriptions of the people are different.

Members of the public who have any information about the man described above or the white van have been asked to call JPD at 586-0600. Members of the public that wish to remain anonymous can report a tip to the Juneau Crime Line at juneaucrimeline.com.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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