Police on the South Shore are looking for a man who took a 9-year-old boy from school and drove around for half an hour on Tuesday.
Officials worked with the 9-year-old Wednesday morning to come up with a description of the suspect. A sketch was released Wednesday afternoon.
"He's actually doing much better today. I think it's a good move we didn't push the interviews or composite sketch last night. He seems much more rested this morning and the story is exactly the same," said Rockland Police Chief John Llewellyn.
Police said the boy left Memorial Park School in Rockland around 2:15 p.m. when school let out. He was stopped by a man in a white or silver vehicle on Lower Reed Street where the boy was usually picked up from school.
The boy didn't question it when the man got out and guided the child into the backseat. The boy believed the man was his father’s co-worker who had picked him up from school before.
“It could be anyone's kid and it's scary. My heart goes to the family because you never know, it could be your kid. Michelle Cunningham said.
Around the same time, the boy’s father showed up. School officials quickly realized the boy was missing. As they were alerting nearby communities, the missing boy walked into the Abington Police Department in the next town over.
The suspect drove around Rockland and Abington for approximately 30 minutes before telling the boy to “get out” in the Lake Street area of Abington. The boy told police he didn't even know he had been kidnapped until he was let go.
Police worry what the man might do the next time.
“I’m concerned that this may have been a dry-run for somebody who was considering an abduction. This clearly fits all of the criteria for an abduction or a kidnapping, however he was released unharmed approximately 30 minutes after he was taken,” Chief Llewellyn said.
The suspect, who was not a friend or family member, is described as a thin white male with white hair that is longer in the back than on top. He also has distinctive sideburns and wears glasses. He was driving a white or grey 4-door sedan with white or silver hubcaps.
Since releasing the sketch, police have received numerous tips from the community.
“A lot of people are reporting somebody with a similar description was in the area in the days preceding this incident,” Chief Llewellyn said.
Police also took the boy on a ride-along to retrace the route the boy took.
“The reason this is critical for us is that a number of the banks and also some of them businesses have exterior video surveillance and we're hoping we'll be able to put together a video timeline,” Chief Llewellyn said.
Parents are reminding their children not to talk to strangers.
“I basically told her that the police were going to be here and just not to talk to anybody she doesn't know. It's just very scary,” Laurie Turner said.
The school’s superintendent said teachers will be monitoring the area.
“Anytime that you have an incident like this, you reexamine every aspect of what you’re doing. I'm just so extremely thankful that the student is safe and unharmed,” Rockland Superintendent John Retchless said.
Anyone who was near the school in Rockland or Lake Street in Abington who may have seen the vehicle is asked to contact the Rockland Police Department Detective Division at (781) 871-3890 extension 122.