Worcester Police investigating reports of young girls being approached by strangers

Police in Worcester are investigating three separate encounters of young girls who say they were approached by strange men on the street.

WORCESTER, Mass. — Police in Worcester are investigating three separate encounters of young girls who say they were approached by strange men on the street.

Two of the girls tell police those incidents happened as they walked to and from school on Wednesday. Since then, Boston 25 News has learned of a third case reported, where police say they have a suspect in mind.

Parents of May Street Elementary School students got an automated message from Worcester Public Schools Wednesday night after police say a 10-year-old girl reported that she was grabbed and pushed by a man as she was walking to school.

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“It was one of the scariest phone calls I have ever received,” a parent told us.

That same night, Worcester Police say they got a similar call from the nonprofit Girls Inc. on Providence Street. Staff there said a young girl had just left Worcester East Middle School and was approached by a man who yelled “come here” before driving away.

“We have to look into these things to determine whether it’s an innocent misunderstanding or whether someone does have nefarious intent," said Worcester Police Lt. Sean Murtha.

Murtha told Boston 25 News it’s unclear if the two incidents were a credible threat or a misunderstanding. He did, however, say there was a third incident of a man trying to lure teens into his green pickup truck this week that the department is taking very seriously.

“He asked girls to get in his car a couple of times, again these are young girls, and made an inappropriate comment to one. And asked a couple of others to come with him and get in his car,” said Murtha.

Police say that suspect is already in custody after being arrested this week on seven unrelated charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Police are reminding parents to talk to their children about stranger danger.

Worcester Police say they don’t have any reason to believe this suspect is connected to the first two reports of students being approached.