Crime

Men in ‘suspicious’ van try to talk to girls, Chester sheriff says

Deputies in Chester County are asking the public to increase safety awareness after girls reported men in a van trying to talk to them at gas stations near Interstate 77.

The incidents happened Friday and Saturday at two convenience store/gas stations on S.C. 9 near I-77 Exit 65, said Max Dorsey, Chester County Sheriff.

Then on Wednesday a middle school student nearby saw a similar van, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

Two sets of girls reported the contact attempt to parents who then contacted police, Dorsey said. No crimes were committed, Dorsey said, but there is a safety concern where such incidents are reported, Dorsey said.

Deputies are trying to identify the van and its occupants, Dorsey said. Early Thursday, the sheriff’s office put a surveillance photo of the van on its Facebook social media page.

“It appears right now that it was the same van both times,” Dorsey said. “We want people to be are of their surroundings and be mindful of safety at all times.”

Dorsey has started an investigation that includes a patrol captain and other deputies. School resource officers and other deputies also have been notified of the incidents, Dorsey said.

Dorsey has been sheriff for less than two weeks. He was sworn in May 8 to replace suspended Sheriff Alex Underwood who was removed from office by Gov. Henry McMaster.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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