Police release sketches of men stalking youths

January 23, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

Howard County police have released sketches of two men they say approached or watched children in Ellicott City in recent weeks -- stalkers whom area schools have been warning their students about for a week.

Police are hoping that the drawings and notices sent home with pupils will yield more information, said Cpl. Kevin Costello, a spokesman for the Howard Police Department.

"It's heightened our awareness," said James Pope, principal of Ellicott City's St. John's Lane Elementary School, which is near where children reportedly were stalked. "We all need to take more caution."

On Jan. 12, a 9-year-old girl told police that a man in a car had approached her outside her home in the 3400 block of Font Hill Drive and asked her whether she wanted a ride. Three days later, a resident of the 2900 block of Cypress Bay Court saw a man slowly driving a light-colored car while he watched children play.

Police said no one was touched or chased in either incident.

Police have given information on the complaints to the Howard County School System, as police did after three similar but unrelated incidents in December.

School officials told about 15 elementary, middle and high schools in the area to spread word of the incidents, said Patti Caplan, a schools spokeswoman.

Notices worried some parents. "One parent said it's like her daughter lost her innocence," said Friedel Warner, principal at Centennial Lane Elementary School, the school closest to the incidents. "It's unfortunate because we don't want to frighten anyone, but you're better off telling them now what's going on."

Anyone with information can call 911 or 313-3200.

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