Cleveland ISD police announce $10,000 reward in stranger danger case

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Police warn parents in Cleveland about couple trying to lure children into their van (KTRK)

The Cleveland ISD Police Department said there have been at least a dozen cases reported of a man and woman in a white van attempting to lure children to their vehicle.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, authorities announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the pair who are accused of trying to entice students by telling them they have puppies and candy.

Based on information received from students, the man is the driver of the van and speaks Spanish. He is described as a Hispanic man with a dark beard and wears glasses and a baseball hat.

The woman in the van has not spoken to the children involved.

Officers say the children being targeted are anywhere from 7-11 years old. They are typically approached in the afternoon once the bus drops them off and leaves.

This is happening in the Bella Vista neighborhood, which is off of FM 1010.

"It's such an easy way to get them in there. Puppies and candy? What kind of kid doesn't want that you know?" said Raquel Campos, who lives in the community.

Neighbors tell Eyewitness News Bella Vista is filled with school-aged children who ride the bus.

"There's a lot of kids out here, especially when the bus comes out, there are so many kids." Campos added.

Authorities say the statements taken from the students are similar in how they describe the van, the occupants inside of it and what they're asking the children to do.

The incidents have been taking place since Tuesday or Wednesday of last week.

The intentions of the duo are unclear.

"It's not only disturbing to us as law enforcement but as parents. Extremely disturbing and very upsetting and I can assure you that we are putting all of our resources into this investigation to try to locate and apprehend individuals," Cleveland ISD Police Chief Rex Evans said.

Cleveland ISD sent a letter home with students Monday. It reads:

Cleveland ISD Parents & Guardians:

We have been informed in the Bella Vista subdivision area, a white van with tinted windows has been approaching students. The white van's license plate is covered with cardboard. In the van is a male with a beard, wearing sunglasses, and a female. These two are telling students to look at the puppies in the van, and also offering candy. Please be aware of this situation and make your children aware also.
If you see these suspicious people, please call 911 immediately!

Thank you,
Cleveland ISD

RAW VIDEO: Police demonstrate device to protect classrooms from active shooters

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Police have introduced a new device that is designed to help protect classrooms in an active shooter situation.

Police also introduced a device Tuesday that is designed to help protect students in an active shooter situation.

The device called a Bearacade prevents doors from being forced open during a shooting.

Police said that if the Bearacade is mounted next to the door, all a student or teacher has to do is open the door, slide the device under and lock it in place.

It takes three to five seconds to install and weighs about two pounds.

Officials said the device, which is made of reinforced polymer plastic, was shot with different firearms during its testing and withstood all of the gun shots.

The Bearacade has a reflective panel so law enforcement officers checking the hallways during an active shooter situation know which classrooms have been secured.

The device costs between $50-$65 dollars.

Police also discussed their plans for full-scale active shooter emergency exercises that will include multiple law enforcement agencies, faculty and staff over the summer.

Authorities explained that increased safety measures have been top of mind in the district following the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February.

Cleveland ISD police called the press conference Tuesday morning in response to these recent incidents where students have been targeted.

Among them was a case last week where a student was arrested and charged in the alleged assault of another teenager as she got off the school bus.

The student suffered injuries to her head and face.

Police said at the time of the attack that multiple people were involved in the assault, but so far, no other arrests have been made.
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