Police are looking for a man who allegedly stalked a 10-year-old girl in Rockville Centre last week as she walked to her bus stop.
A man approached the girl near North Forest and Maple avenues on April 10 at about 8:30 a.m., Nassau County police said, and tried to convince her to leave with him on foot. When she refused to go with him, police say the man showed a handgun and knife in his waistband.
The girl ran toward students and parents standing at the bus stop, and the man fled the scene, according to detectives. The man has been reportedly seen in that area several times since March, Nassau County police told the Herald, as well as near Francis F. Wilson Elementary School.
But village and school officials said they received a different story from the person who reported the alleged incident.
Village Spokeswoman Julie Scully said that the alleged occurrence was reported to village police on April 12, two days after the person claimed it happened. The fifth-grade student was allegedly touched on the shoulder by a man, she noted, adding that the department was not told that the man was armed.
"Please be aware that although some news outlets have reported the suspect possessing a gun and knife, no reports of that kind have been made to the Rockville Centre Police Department," she said. "The safety of the Rockville Centre residents is the top priority for the Rockville Centre Police Department, who are working diligently to apprehend the suspect."
Scully's statement added that Rockville Centre police believe this was an isolated incident that was directed towards a specific individual. Officers have been patrolling the area, she told the Herald, but there have been no other reports of the man ever being seen.
The man is described as a black male, about 30 to 40 years old, with black braided hair and a braided beard.
The Rockville Centre School District also released a statement on Monday, saying that "the facts, as reported to us, are significantly different than those reported in the news and on social media."
The allegation that the man described had been seen previously at Wilson Elementary School has been investigated, it said, and could not be corroborated.
No other student is believed to be in danger, the district added, but parents have been notified. 'We are as upset as you with the facts as they have been reported in the news," the statement reads. "We feel very strongly that your children need to be regularly reminded of all the precautions they need to take to ensure their safety."
Detectives request anyone with information regarding this incident or individual to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS, or Rockville Centre police, at (516) 766-1500. All callers will remain anonymous.