A man apparently tried to abduct an East High School student, which is the fourth time this has happened in the past week.
A heightened alert was issued after two attempted abductions at Northeast High School. An eighth-grade student at East High has come forward to report an attempted abduction on Tuesday near the area of 17th Street and White Avenue.
She was frightened and ran back to her home, where she told her parents.
Police say they believe the men are trying to rob the students of their smartphones.
"The robbery unit believes there is a group that's targeting people for their cell phones," said Kansas City Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Marissa Barnes.
No arrests have been made. Barnes said the incidents are being treated as stranger-danger cases.
The Kansas City School District posted details about the Tuesday's incident on its Facebook page.
"The student was followed by a van while walking to school. A man tried to lure her into the van, even exiting the vehicle to approach her," the Facebook page says. "The student was able to get away to safety and alert the police."
Students sustained injuries in two of the incidents.
None of the crimes occurred on school property, but rather as students were on their way to or from school.
The vehicle description was different in one of the incidents. A mother said a man in a red SUV had followed her daughter earlier in the school year.
The incidents in the past week involving Northeast High students occurred last Thursday and on Monday.
A week ago, a Northeast High student was walking home when three men grabbed her and tried to get her in a gray and white van. As they were loading her in, a witness saw what was going on and the men dropped her on the ground. School officials said she went to the hospital after she suffered a broken arm.
"Thank God she fought them off. She is safe now with her parents," Principal Doug Bolden said Wednesday.
On Monday, another student was walking home when two men tried to accost her.
"Every time we've had an incident, there seems to be a white or grayish van involved which led us to believe it's the same people," Bolden said.
Students were told to walk in groups and keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.
"They told us not to walk alone to and from school, and that a suspicious car, a white van, is trying to pick people up" said student Anna Correa-White.
Her mother is apprehensive.
"I'm just really nervous," Rosa Correa said. "I just hope it never happens to my daughter."
Christina Swartz hopes police finds the gang of crooks soon.
"It's crazy people these days. You can't even let our kids go to school," said Christina Swartz.
The Kansas City Police Department and the school district are increasing patrols in the area.
"We also ask that you be on high alert to help protect the safety of our students," the district said in its statement. "If you note any suspicious activity, immediately call 911 or contact KCPS Security at 816-418-8813. Suspects have been seen driving white/gray passenger vans and a red SUV."
Police say if someone is trying to steal your phone to give it to them, because it's not worth getting hurt over.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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