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Ridgewood Daily Voice serves Ridgewood, NJ

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Stranger grabs schoolgirl in Ridgewood, parents urged to teach kids street smarts

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding a man who grabbed a Ridgewood girl on her way home from school yesterday, a week after two other girls were scared off by a driver who pulled up to them in the same neighborhood. Police are also urging extra vigilance by youngsters, parents and teachers.

Ridgewood police said they haven’t directly connected the incidents.

Several people witnessed yesterday’s attack, which occurred around 3:15 p.m. on North Monroe Street in the area of Sheridan Terrace, Ridgewood detectives said.

They described the attacker as white, in his 50s or 60s, about 6-foot-2 and heavyset, with grey or light-colored, medium-length “wavy” hair.

He wearing jeans, a grey or greenish t-shirt with stains on it and dark sunglasses, the detectives said.

The previous incident occurred on Godwin Avenue near Garfield Place a week ago yesterday, when a man pulled up to two girls in a blue vehicle, described as an older-model four-door sedan with rust on the exterior and black tape on the seats of the interior, and rolled down the passenger window.

“Hey, girls, do you want to ….” he said to the youngsters, who ran away.

They described him as 60-70 years old, with large-framed gold glasses, a short scruffy beard and balding grey hair.

Surrounding police departments and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office have joined Ridgewood’s investigation into the incidents, and village police patrols are being increased, the detectives said.

Authorities also are urging parents to teach their children “street-savvy skills.”

“Make sure you tell your child to be alert and report to their teacher, principal or trusted adult any suspicious cars or strangers loitering near the school,” the detectives said, in a release.

“If your child walks to and from school and/or after-school activities, ensure they walk with a friend – especially after dark,” they added. “Determine the safest path to and from school for your child. Teach them the names of the streets that they use.

“You should walk or bike with them several times until they feel comfortable with the route.”

If your child carries a cell phone, be sure that they know when and how to dial 911.

If a stranger approaches, they should immediately run to a safe location while shouting for help.

Parents and teachers are urged to report any suspicious incidents via 911 or by calling Ridgewood police: 201-652-3900

FILE PHOTO: Boyd A. Loving

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