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Community on alert after girl is approached in library
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan community is on high alert after a teenage girl says she was targeted by a stranger. The girl says she was about to check out books at the Portage District Library Thursday night when a man repeatedly asked her to leave with him.
Staff members at the library are on the lookout in case the man returns. The girl got home safely. Police are now looking into it.
"Something was creepy. She said, in her words, her creepy factor went off," Dana Kingsbury says. Thursday night around 6 p.m., Kingsbury says her 13-year-old daughter was approached by a man in the library, asking her if she wanted to leave and get ice cream. She said no, but the man wouldn't leave her alone.
"And he kept approaching and approaching. She said he was mumbling things she couldn't understand and kept coming at her and reaching for her," Kingsbury says.
After hiding in the library until the man left, she raced home to her mom, who notified the library and filed a police report. The man is described as African American, in his 30s, over six feet tall and with a beard. Portage police say the man didn't break the law, because he didn't touch the girl or kidnap her.
"If that warning flag goes off in your mind that the situation or the interaction was strange or unusual, we prefer that you err on the side of caution of notifying the police," Officer Kyle Doster says. "Worse case scenario, it wasn't a crime but we have something documented about the subject in case something happens later."
Police say if someone finds themselves in an uncomfortable situation like this, they should head to a place where there are lots of people and call for help. Kingsbury worries about children too young to say no to ice cream with a stranger.
"Parents should be on the lookout that something is going on. She was scared to death," Kingsbury says.
There aren't any security cameras here at the library, but the director says staff members are always ready to help when something goes wrong.