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Police: Man approaching children a misunderstanding

— Mohonasen Central School District officials on Wednesday, Sept. 19, sent home a letter to parents regarding claims of a suspicious man allegedly approaching children, but police said it was a misunderstanding.

Rotterdam police the following day located the man, who was a local resident, and he said the man didn’t mean anything by talking to the children.

“It was just an innocent conversation,” Lt. Jason Murphy said.

The man asked children to meet him at another location so he could give them free bicycles, according to the district’s letter. Police said the situation was a little different than first reported.

“He saw bikes and thought it might belong to the kids he saw and talked to them,” Murphy said.

Police officials and district officials were contacted about the situation and the district’s Transportation Department alerted bus drivers.

The incident did provide parents an opportunity to talk to their children about how to react when approached by strangers.

“We encourage you to speak to your children this evening about the importance of not talking to strangers,” district officials wrote in the letter. “We also encourage you to work within the community to provide adult supervision at your child’s bus stop to monitor their safety.”

The district had urged parents noticing anything out of the ordinary, or children mentioning such incidents, to contact the Rotterdam Police Department at 355-7331.

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