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Hastings residents, on the lookout after abduction attempts, call in numerous suspicious vehicles

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It's obvious by looking through this week's incident reports from the Hastings Police Department that residents here are a bit on edge after a second possible abduction attempt was reported last week.

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The department fielded a number of calls from residents regarding a vehicle that fit the description in the recent attempt - a maroon-and-silver truck. Other suspicious vehicles were reported as well, including a blue-and-white van that ended up being an ice cream truck.

The department welcomes the calls, Chief of Police Paul Schnell said.

"This is what you hope will happen," he said. "You'd always rather check things out and know than have these things go unreported and uninvestigated. That's when risk comes. These calls are important to us. They're important to the safety of the community."

Just after 9 p.m. on Aug. 23, a vehicle approached a group of Hastings youths and pulled over to the side of the road near where Pleasant Drive meets Old Bridge Lane. The driver of a dark, small, four-door car pulled over and said to one of the children, "I'll be back for you, cutie pie," then drove off.

At 1 p.m. Aug. 25, someone reported seeing the two-tone truck near Ramsey Street. The vehicle was checked out and a background check was done on the driver. Everything checked out.

At just before 5 p.m. on the 25th, another caller reported seeing a suspicious maroon truck. It, too, checked out.

At 6:50 p.m. on Aug. 25, a caller reported seeing a woman in a car try to summon over four children while at a park near General Sieben Drive. Police made contact with the woman in the car and learned that the four children were her own.

Another suspicious vehicle report was taken Aug. 27, and the last one of the week came in Aug. 28 at 3 p.m., when a caller reported seeing a suspicious white van with a blue stripe that was playing loud music.

A van fitting that description was later found in the area of Tiffany Drive and Cari Park Lane. The driver was selling ice cream and found to have an expired solicitor's permit. He was warned and released.

While the driver of the maroon truck involved in the potential abduction attempt wasn't located, Schnell expressed gratitude that so many people called the department this week.

"The bottom line is that many of the people we have had contact with about this are good people," Schnell said. "They didn't have anything to do with any type of wrongdoing, but this conveys a strong message that people are watching. That's a good thing for the safety of a neighborhood and the safety of a community."

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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