Deputies investigating third report of suspicious van

The third incident in three weeks involving a man driving a light-colored van attempting to talk to middle school girl was reported this morning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said the incident happened at 8:15 a.m. today near the intersection of Hale Way and Falcon Street in White City. A girl was walking to White Mountain Middle School when a white man in his 40s driving an older, beige van pulled up next to her. The driver attempted to ask the girl several questions, including her name and where she lived, Carlson said. The girl did not respond and ran away.

The driver sped away, traveling north on 24th Avenue toward Avenue G in White City. Officers looked, but couldn't find the van.

Police are investigating whether the driver is the same man from a May 1 incident near Highway 62 and Avenue H in White City. A motorist said a beige or white van pulled up alongside a middle school girl and tried to talk to her. The motorist turned around to go back, a news release said, but by then both the girl and the van were gone. The motorist described the man in the van as a white man in his 40s with a large build and scruffy salt-and-pepper hair.

A third similar incident took place took place in Phoenix Friday, May 18, and police said it could be related, but that is not yet confirmed.

During that incident, a man driving a light brown 1986 Toyota van drove up to a school bus stop near the intersection of South Pacific Highway and North Rose Street. A Phoenix police officer drove up as the driver of the van attempted to talk to the girl, prompting the van to speed away. The officer followed and stop the van for a traffic violation. When he asked the man to step out of the vehicle, the driver pulled back on to road and sped away. Police gave chase but stopped after the van's driver drove recklessly through the WinCo parking lot and pulled back on to Riverside Avenue.

— Ryan Pfeil

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