Police say 'suspicious' man who approached child was in fact a friend

New London — The "suspicious man" who police said approached a school-aged child who had missed the bus Thursday morning turned out to be a family friend, police say.

Police said earlier a caller reported that a child who had missed the school bus had been approached near Montauk Avenue and Lower Boulevard by a man who made comments and followed the child a short distance.

On Friday afternoon, New London police said in a statement that through investigation they have confirmed the child was actually approached by a family friend. The witness who overheard an exchange between the child and man thought the incident seemed suspicious and rightfully reported it to police, said Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard.

Reichard said similar incidents were reported on the morning of Sept. 9 on Montauk Avenue near Mitchell Court and on the afternoon of Sept. 16 in the Lower Boulevard area. Those incidents remain part of active investigations. Police have increased patrols during school bus pick up and drop off times.

Police are asking residents to continue to be aware of their surroundings and remind children about safety.

Police suggest that parents remind their children:

- Never respond to strangers when alone.

- Stay with your friends.

- Report suspicious incidents to trusted adults.

- Never accept gifts, food or candy.

- Never accept rides.

- Be alert to similar incidents, especially in areas that have been identified.

- Never go with anyone without a parent's or guardian's permission.

- Always tell someone where you are going.

Reichard said police encourage citizens always to report suspicious activity and thank the citizens who conveyed the suspicious activity that they had witnessed.

If anyone has information regarding such activity, they are asked to contact the New London Police Department. In an emergency, call 911. For non-emergencies, please call (860) 447-5269.

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