Police, school officials and school bus drivers are on the alert in Bethel after a 12-year-old middle school student was reportedly chased by a strange man while walking from the bus stop on Tuesday afternoon, according to Bethel Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith.
Smith said the seventh grade girl got off the bus around 4:15 p.m. and began walking toward her house on Route 58/Putnam Park Road when she noticed a unmarked white industrial van stop and make a U-turn.
A man got out and began running toward the student, who was just a few yards from her house and was able to get inside and lock the doors, Smith said. The man got back in his van and sped off.
The girl told her parents and they called Bethel Middle School. Smith said a school resource officer then informed Bethel police, who are actively investigating.
In an email sent to members of the school community, Smith described the person they are looking as a clean-cut white man in his 30s wearing a white T-shirt, black pants and black shoes.
Police said he has a medium build, is between 30 and 40 and about 5-feet-10-inches tall. The van resembled a Ford Econoline. It was in good condition and has a single winder on the rear side panel.
He is clean cut and has no noticable facial hair or tatoos.
Police believe this was an isolated incident. Smith said there is no imminent danger to students but urged students to be aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious.
Anyone with information or sees suspicious behavior is asked to contact Bethel police at 203-744-7900.