LORAIN, Ohio - Police are looking for a man who grabbed two girls and exposed himself to another in Lorain Thursday morning, prompting a lockdown for the school district.
The first incident happened in the area of Washington Avenue and West 9th Street just after 6 a.m. Police say the man grabbed a girl who was walking to school by the arm and made a threatening comment. Then, as she was trying to get away, he punched her twice in the face.
She ran and neighbors who heard her scream called police.
"My son came home from school petrified," said Matthew Truhlar who lives nearby. "He goes to Lorain High.”
Then around 7:20 a.m. a man who fits the same description exposed himself to a girl in the area of Oberlin Avenue and West 8th Street. He also followed the girl into a front yard before running westbound on West 8th Street.
About six minutes later a suspect grabbed another girl from behind near West 18th Street and Oakdale Avenue.
All of the victims were under the age of 13.
Per #Elyria schools, increased staff & police presence and robo calls to parents following attempted abduction in city today
Lorain City Schools were placed on a lockdown while police looked for the suspect.
“As often as possible, students should be walking in groups," said Jeff Graham, superintendent of Lorain schools.
The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-20s or mid-30s. He was about 5-foot 10-inches tall and was wearing a black jacket with a hood, dark jeans, dark shoes, dark gloves and a black mask covering his face.
Police talked to multiple people matching that description but have not located the man they believe is responsible.
“It’s normally peacefully," said Howard Sanders, a Lorain High School senior who walks the same stretch as where the first incident happened. "So I didn’t think anything like this would really happen around here.”
“It makes me feel unsafe for these kids that have to walk to the bus stops early in the morning,” said Jennifer Coleman, a Lorain parent of two high schoolers.
Here are some tips about keeping your children safe while they are traveling to and from school.