SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) – The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office is bumping up patrols after a series of what "appear to be" four attempted abductions in the last month.
The one thing they're trying to do is prevent hysteria. They say they realize the community is on edge, but they're taking these claims seriously and have a plan underway to uphold public safety.
Investigators on the cases have a plan for their investigation, and keeping Spotsylvania County safe. It means bumping up patrols, especially near school bus stops and residential areas.
"It's frustrating, but it's probably more frustrating for our citizens. They're alarmed and we're trying to bring them back to safe thoughts and the feeling of safety," said Lt. Colonel Michael Timm with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.
Also frustrating for deputies, no apparent link in these cases-- though they're all along the Route 3 corridor.
Authorities say the descriptions of these alleged crimes don't match up. For example the ages of the victims range from 8 all the way until 20. The number of suspects involved varies, so does their description. Not to mention, the description of the vehicle is different in each case. They don't think at this point the cases are related.
They say they're investigating lots of possibilities, even considering a copy-cat. And they take each report seriously. But even with their added presence, they're asking the public to be careful.
"We ask that the citizens of this community be vigilant in exercising good safe practices for personal safety. Have school aged children walk in groups and when possible, have them walk with either older siblings or parents," Timm said.
And school officials are helping with keeping parents informed- forwarding new details in the investigations home to parents.
"We have encouraged them as part of our safety measures with them to have a parent at the bus stop, so there's one parent there and they're taking turns having a watchful eye at the bus stop," said Director of Spotsylvania Schools Rene Daniels.
"One thing I wish to assure the citizens of this community, that you should feel safe conducting your day to day activities," Timm said.
Officials do have one suspect-- Jacinto Osael Hernandez-Andrade. They think he was involved in the first abduction attempt. We're told they plan to put bilingual fliers out with his picture and a description of the incident, hoping to get a break in the case.
Since students will be out of school Tuesday for election day, officials say extra staffing will be present, and they will patrol residential areas through the day tomorrow.