AKRON, Ohio - Akron police stepped up their presence at an Akron elementary school Tuesday, after a man passed cookies through a fence to four kids who were playing on the playground.
Three of the children ate the cookies during Monday's recess, prompting concern among parents and school leaders at Voris Community Learning Center on Glenmount Avenue.
Annette Citraro, 32, became very worried when she was notified that her son, a kindergarten student, ingested one of the sugar cookies from a stranger.
"I was extremely scared. The first thing, as a parent, you think, 'Oh my gosh.' You think the worst. You think the cookie that he ingested had some kind of poisoning in it."
She took her son to an emergency room as a precaution.
"They checked him out, did a once over on him. He was OK. There was nothing involved," Citraro said.
Maryanna Johnson, acting principal of the school, said the incident happened shortly after kids were let outside for recess around 11:30 a.m.
Three adults monitor the kids on the playground, but the man handed the cookies to the kids before the supervisors walked over to the area of the fence.
After Citraro's son told one of the teachers about the cookies, the kids were brought into the principal's office to be monitored and questioned.
"This is an unknown person approaching our children and it's not a safe situation," Johnson said.
On Tuesday, officers in three cruisers circled the perimeter of the school, looking for suspicious activity.
A woman, who did not want to be identified, told NewsChannel5 that she thought it was odd when she spotted the man handing food to children through the fence.
She gave police a description of the man and his vehicle. "It was a white, SUV, (Chevy) Tahoe, 2006-2008. He is Indian origin, probably 5'3" to 5'5"," the woman said.
Police said it's possible the man was just trying to be "a nice guy handing out cookies", but parents worried that he was trying to lure a child.
Citraro also complained that the fence is not secure.
"There are gaps in the fence that somebody could just walk into the fence, so it's not like the fence is locked down," Citraro said.
A letter was sent home to parents informing them of the incident.
Johnson said she'll be on the playground during recess over the next couple of weeks so that she can scan the area for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Surveillance video from the school was also turned over to Akron police.
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