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UPDATE: Man sought in Santa Clarita Valley child annoyance case

Posted: August 22, 2014 1:30 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2014 4:55 p.m.

Just one week after children headed back to school for the 2014-15 year, two female students walking home from Placerita Junior High School in Newhall reported they were approached by a man who drove up in a black pickup truck and told them to get in, a Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s officials said.

The incident happened at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday at Dalbey Drive and Avenida Ignacio next to the junior high. It prompted Hart High School Principal Collyn Nielson to email an alert to parents Friday asking them to “continue to advise students to be always aware of their surroundings to and from school.”

The two students were walking on the sidewalk when a man in a black pickup with an extended cab drove up next to them, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Lt. Cortland Meyers said.

“He told them to get in. They ran off,” Meyers said.

The man then drove away, he added.

Advising parents and students “in cases like this” is standard procedure in the William S. Hart Union High School District, spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said.

“We immediately alert our parents and our students,” Pinsker said. “We remind kids all the time to be alert and to walk in pairs or in groups if possible.”

The incident was being investigated as a case of child annoyance because the man ordered the girls to get inside his vehicle, Meyers said.

Words alone can constitute annoying or molesting a child, even when the words are not sexual in nature, he said.

Child annoyance is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000, according to the state penal code. A second offense can be treated as a felony.

It was the first case of child annoyance reported to the local sheriff’s station so far this semester, Meyers said.

After being approached by the man Thursday, both girls reported the incident to their parents, who called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said Pinsker.

The girls described the man as a white male, 50 to 60 years old, with a skinny build, unshaven and with white facial hair.

He was wearing a print blue bandana, a white T-shirt and jeans, Nielson wrote in the alert to parents.

The truck was described as a black pickup with an extended cab, tinted windows and a dent on the passenger side.

Anyone with information about the crime was asked to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, 661-255-1121.



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