Ocoee police search for man in attempted kidnapping

Police: Man told child to get into car because he had present for him

OCOEE, Fla. - Police have released a picture of a man they believe may have tried to kidnap a young boy walking home from school.

[LISTEN:  Principal's message to parents]

Ocoee police posted the alert on Facebook and Twitter two days after they think the man tried to lure an 11-year-old boy into his car.

The flier said the incident happened Monday after school as the child walked from Citrus Elementary in Orange County.

The boy walked off campus through a sidewalk to the library nearby, and that's when the man tried to get him in his car.

"The male asked the child if he would like a ride and when the child stated, 'no,' the male told the child to get into the car because he had a present for him," said the flier.

The boy ran to an adult he knew. The flier does not describe the sketch of the man as a suspect, but said police want to "identify this man."

The school district said the boy's mother immediately wrote a note for the principal after the incident, but the principal only received it Wednesday. That's when she warned students about stranger danger over the school's public announcement system.

Late Wednesday night, Orange County Public Schools sent an OrangeCONNECT alert to parents warning them about what happened.

"Earlier this week an incident occurred where a student who left campus after school was approached by a man in a vehicle. This occurred near the library. The student did the right thing by not getting into the vehicle with the stranger," Principal Delaine Bender said via the phone message.

Local 6 spoke exclusively to the boy's mother, who wanted to remain anonymous. She said she's worried the man will try to abduct another child.

"This guy's out there trying to lure another little child," she said.

The boy's mother told Local 6 her child was planning to meet his high school-aged brother in front of Citrus Elementary, but walked out the wrong exit. That's when he reported seeing the man who tried to lure him into his car.

Police said they have several leads they are exploring. The boy helped police make a sketch and gave them a lot of details about the man and his car.

The child said the car he was driving was a "beat up, rustic" black four-door car with a rusted grill, unmatched rims, and a broken left headlight cover. The vehicle was round in the front and back.

The man was described as white, in his 50s, tall and balding, and he wore a black shirt with dark jeans.

Police are now using the man's sketch to compare it with people in the state sex offender registry.

"I mean, this is scary," said Lanna Torrance, a parent nearby who plans to talk to her kids about stranger danger. "(I will) talk to my kids about what's going on so they can be safe and keep them indoors."

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