Palo Alto police are searching for a man who allegedly pulled up in a car next to two middle school students Thursday evening and made inappropriate comments while trying to get them to come closer to his car.
Two 12-year-old children, one girl and one boy, were walking together on the 2200 block of Middlefield Road near Jordan Middle School when the man drove up next to them and tried to get them to come over to his car, police said. The children ignored him and kept walking, and the man drove away.
But when the students reached the intersection of North California Avenue and Newell Road, the same man again pulled up next to them and starting talking to them while staying in his car. Police said he repeatedly told the girl that she was "beautiful," asked if she was dating the boy and if they were going to get married. He again tried to get them to come closer to the car but the children "stayed a safe distance away," police said in a press release. The man stayed in his car and did not make any threats against the children, eventually driving away.
The boy and girl immediately called a parent to come pick them up, and a parent later notified police about what happened. Officers responded to the area, but the man was gone.
The students described the man, who remains at large, as a white man in his late 20s or early 30s with "dirty blonde" hair worn in a buzz cut, police said. He had a slim build, was unshaven and was wearing a white buttoned shirt. He was driving a newer model white car with four doors, possibly a sedan or hatchback, according to police.
No sketch of the man is available at this time, but if one is produced, the police department will release it as soon as it is available.
Patrol officers are monitoring common school commute routes used by students, the police department noted in its release.
Detectives are also investigating to determine if this incident may be connected to one that occurred last Friday, Aug. 21. A man was observed acting suspiciously after repeatedly driving past an 11-year-old girl in the 3800 block of Louis Road. While the description of the man from this week's incident is vaguely similar, the vehicle description is not.
Police continue to ask for the public's help with reporting suspicious activity immediately via 911. They also advise parents to remind children to remain alert no matter where they are, and to tell a trusted adult immediately about anything they see that doesn't seem right.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.