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Luring case leads to warning in California

| Friday, April 25, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

California Borough police are warning residents about men who reportedly tried to lure females into their vehicles.

Police Chief Rick Encapera said two women came to the police station Wednesday morning claiming a group of Hispanic and black males were harassing them 11:30 p.m. Tuesday along the 200 and 300 blocks of Third Street.

He said the women are California University of Pennsylvania students.

The chief said the story was “very credible” and that police soon discovered reports of similar incidents in recent days on social media sites.

Encapera said that during the Tuesday night incident, occupants in a dark-colored SUV pulled up to the women and began harassing them. The males did not say anything vulgar but were very persistent, the chief said.

“One car with Hispanics pulled up and started talking to (the women), and as they were walking away, a black male opened the door, got out and attempted to lure them into the vehicle,” Encapera said.

“The girls felt uncomfortable, and they got scared and hoofed it back to their apartment. But they didn't think it was important enough to call the police.”

Encapera said police have not determined the number of suspects, saying only there are “at least four.” The SUV is possibly a Subaru, Honda or Nissan, he said.

Encapera said he became frustrated after learning of references to similar occurrences through Facebook and Twitter posts.

Encapera strongly encouraged anyone witnessing suspicious activity to immediately call 911.

“We can't respond directly and confront these suspects when people report it hours later,” Encapera said. “Posting it on Twitter and Facebook doesn't help us ... And waiting until the next day to report these types of incidents only prolongs our investigation.”

Encapera said he notified Cal U administration and campus police of the incidents.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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