Palo Alto police seek man who harassed middle school students

PALO ALTO, Calif. (BCN) -- Police are looking for a man who allegedly harassed two middle school students as they were walking along a Palo Alto street Thursday evening.

At 6:28 p.m., police dispatchers received a call from the parent of a child reporting a suspicious incident that had happened about 45 minutes earlier near Jordan Middle School, located at 750 N. California Ave., police said.

When officers arrived in the area, they learned two 12-year-old children, a boy and a girl, were walking together in the 2200 block of Middlefield Road, adjacent to Jordan Middle School, according to police.

As the pair was walking, a man drove up next to them and tried to beckon them over to his car. The two ignored the suspect and kept walking.

The suspect then drove away, police said.

As the students reached the intersection of North California Avenue and Newell Road, the same man again pulled up to the pair and began talking to them from inside his car, according to police.

The suspect told the girl repeatedly she was "beautiful" and asked if she was dating the boy and if they were going to get married.

The suspect, again, tried to call the children closer to his car but the children kept a safe distance from the man's car, police said.

The man never got out of his car and never made any threats to the two. The suspect eventually drove away, according to police.

The children immediately called a parent to come pick them up.

Police searched the area for the suspect, but could not locate him, according to police.

The children described the suspect as a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, with "dirty blonde" hair worn in a buzz cut. The suspect has a slim build, was unshaven and was wearing a white-buttoned shirt, police said.

The suspect vehicle was a newer model white car with four doors, possibly a sedan or hatchback. The vehicle's left headlight was broken, possibly indicating it had been involved in a collision, according to police.

Patrol officers are currently monitoring common school commute routes used by students, police said.

Detectives are investigating whether this incident is linked to another incident that happened on Friday in the 3800 block of Louis Road. In that incident, a man driving a car followed an 11-year-old girl as she was riding a bike.

In that incident, while the suspect description vaguely matches the description from Thursday's incident, the vehicle description does not, according to police.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or can also be sent by text or voicemail to (650) 383-8984. 

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