By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis police detective said there have been a string of calls about someone — or several people — trying to lure 13-year-old girls in southwest Minneapolis.

READ MORE: Good Question: How Do Trees Know When To Bloom?

It’s happening in the Linden Hills area, from Zenith to Dupont avenues.

Since the beginning of May, there have been five different reports of luring and though several of the girls had to make a run for it, they’ve all gotten away.

Those who try to prevent child abductions said this is the perfect example that this can happen anywhere.

Paula Bellin said it’s the kind of neighborhood that makes you want to get out and about.

“Our oldest granddaughter is 11 and it’s just scary to think of anything like that,” she said.

READ MORE: Minnesota Companies Mining Gold From Nostalgia For Decades Gone By

Minneapolis detective Diaz works the Linden Hills area and calls it troubling.

At Zenith someone grabbed a 13-year-old’s wrist and told her to keep quiet. At Dupont, someone in a white Camry closely followed a 13-year-old walking her dog. Then on Lyndale, two 13 year olds were approached by a van and people gestured them to get inside.

“In several of the instances the victims ran, they got away, and they put some distance again between them and the person that was talking to them,” Diaz said.

Police said they’re keeping extra close watch on foot and on bike.

Officers said even though the descriptions of perpetrators are different, they are not conviced the incidents aren’t connected. They said they hope this will be a wake up for students and parents.

The Jacob Wetterling Foundation has a list of ways they recommend talking to children about how to be protect themselves.

MORE NEWS: After Her Kids Were Hacked, Cybersecurity Engineer Writes Children's Book

Tip 1 | Tip 2 | Tip 3 | Tip 4

For details on the attempted lurings, the following are the police reports:

  • May 2 58th St W/Lyndale Av S 8:45 am – A white male, 40-45 year old, 5’8″-5’11” wearing a gray and white winter jacket and light blue or off-white khaki pants approached a 13 year female victim on foot and said, “Hello.” He then tried to block her path. The victim fled on foot. The suspect was driving a dirty, white or cream cargo van with no rear windows.
  • May 5 36th St W/Zenith Av s 2:25 pm – Three white males, 30-45 year approached a 13 year old female on foot. One suspect grabbed her wrist and told her to be quiet or she would be hurt. The victim fled on foot. One of the suspects was described as having a muscular build. There was no vehicle involved.
  • May 13 41st St W/Dupont Av S 6:10 pm – A 13 year old female was walking her dog when passersby noticed that she was being followed closely by a white Toyota Camry with Colorado license plates. No description of the occupants was provided. The occupants did not attempt to make contact with the girl.
  • May 16 54th St W/Lyndale Av S 4:30 pm – A white, older cargo van with chipped paint pulled alongside two 13 year old females. One of the occupants of the van opened the sliding side door as if the invite the girls inside. The victims fled on foot. The occupants made no attempt to follow them. The driver is described as a white male, 20-25 year old. The passenger was a mixed race or light-skinned black male also 20-25 year old.
  • May 13-17 58 St W/Wentworth Av S 2:10 pm – A white male, 50-60 year old medium build has been seen loitering in the area and possibly taking photographs of children.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield