Man tries to pick up teen walking home from Winter Haven school, police say

Polk County

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Winter Haven police are investigating an incident where an older man tried picking up a teenage girl as she was walking home from school.

Police say around 2:20 p.m. Thursday, a 15-year-old girl was walking along Lake Elbert Drive NE near 10th Street NE when a white van driven by a black male, who appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, asked if she wanted a ride.

The girl ignored the man but he continued to follow her asking numerous times about a ride. As she continued to try to get away, the man pulled the van in front of her and stopped and told her to get in the van.

According to police, two people were in the vicinity who saw the encounter and yelled at the teen not to get in the van. The man then left the area.

The witnesses described the van to officers as being an older white van with tinted windows and the hood ajar. A possible Florida tag of X4156C was given, however, it did not match the van.

Winter Haven police have increased patrol presence in the area and also around schools while children would be walking from school.

If you have any information about this incident or a possible identity of the driver, please call Detective Shaquille Haynes at 863-401-2256.

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