UPDATE: After Sheldon High School students reported a suspicious man following them after school and offering rides, Eugene police said they contacted a man matching the description.
Police said they located the van and made contact with the man Monday. They spoke with the man, a transient, but said he hadn't done anything illegal.
Eugene police provided these tips to stay safe:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
- Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
- Don’t let strangers into your space. Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
- Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
- If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 911
- If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
- Use the buddy system when walking after dark. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
- Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves
Police thanked the public for the tips they received.
EUGENE, Ore. -- Multiple Sheldon High School students have reported a suspicious man following them in a metallic-colored van as they walk home from school or asking if they need a ride, Eugene police said.
In one incident, police said a 14-year-old student was followed by the van as she walked on Regency Drive, and it continued to follow her at a walking pace until she left her normal route to get away from it.
Police said in another incident, the man approached a 16-year-old student on foot in the Bi-Mart parking lot on Willakenzie Road. He asked her if she needed a ride and pointed to the van. She avoided contact by heading toward a nearby group of students.
The man is described as white, more than 50 years old, having grayish-brown hair, and partially bald with some facial hair and a “beer belly.”
He was at one time seen wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt with the hood back.
The van is described as an older model with tinted windows. Police said it is a gold or silver-type color.
If anyone has information, they are asked to call 541-682-5111.