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Boy runs away from attempted kidnapper at Bell Elementary in North Center

Friday, May 24, 2013
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A young boy was approached by a man on the playground at Bell Elementary School in the North Center neighborhood, police said.

According to a police report, the fourth-grader was playing on the playground at the school, located at 3730 North Oakley Avenue, around 3:25 p.m. Wednesday when the man came up to him and said he was there to pick him up because his mother was sleeping. The child, who did not recognize the man, ran away and told adults. The man was spotted leaving the area, walking west on Grace Street.

The man is described as African-American, 5'6", with a thin frame, brown eyes and short hair. He was wearing a blue Cubs baseball cap, jeans and a short-sleeved black shirt with flip-flops.

School officials sent a letter to parents about the incident, "The Chicago Police Department was notified and they are actively working on the case. We have alerted all playground personnel and teachers to report any suspicious or unknown individuals to he office immediately."

"The administration has done a great job as far as education. As soon as it happened, there was a bulletin. I got an email letting us know what happened within a few hours," Steve Paruiccini, parent, said.

The school is encouraging parents to talk to their children about how to respond in a similar situation.

"I've told them to be aware of their surroundings, and run away, just like the boy did," Sue Watt, parent, said. "I'm going to walk them up to the door."

"Any school, really, there's so much activity, I could see how that could happen," Laura Pellikan, parent, said.

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