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Vigilance urged after strangers approach children in Jackson, Cottonwood counties

Local law enforcement took to Facebook, encouraging residents to take extra precautions and talk to children about safety measures.

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WINDOM — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Windom Police Department are urging the public to take precautions regarding strangers approaching children after several reported encounters.

Jackson County reported three separate incidents in which strangers apparently attempted to get children to enter their vehicles, the first of which took place at 2 p.m. July 3 and involved a white male with a beard, driving an older red SUV. The incident took place near Butler Avenue and North Highway in Jackson.

On July 10, it was reported that two adult males with dark complexions in a black Honda SUV motioned to a middle school-aged girl who was walking at the Jackson County Fairgrounds to come over to their vehicle. The vehicle remained around the fairgrounds for a while before leaving.

A third incident was reported in the area of North Sverdrup Avenue. A 7-year-old girl reported that a vehicle approached her as she was walking home, and the driver asked her to get in his vehicle and claimed he had free candy. The vehicle was described as a dark-colored — possibly dark blue — car and the driver had short, dark hair and a beard. The girl reported the incident upon arriving at home.

Windom reported a similar incident occurred on July 15, at approximately 2:25 p.m. on the East Hill, when a Blue Ford 4 door sedan pulled up next to a child biking home. A man, described as having darker skin, tattoos on both arms, short hair, and no facial hair and being 6 feet tall, got out and told the child to get into the vehicle. The child was able to run home.

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Both agencies urge anyone with information regarding these incidents to contact the proper authorities and to remain vigilant.

Extra precautions like talking to children about safety measures to take if they are approached by strangers and encouraging children to walk in groups are recommended.

Jackson County stated increased patrols will be taking place.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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