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Amid tips and more reports, sketch artist to join attempted abductions case

LAWRENCEVILLE — Even amid a flurry of tips from the public, a sketch artist may be necessary to help Gwinnett County police pin down the man who has sent a chill down the collective spine of local parents.

At least two attempted abductions have been reported in the last week-plus, both by young boys claiming that white males in black pickup trucks tried to snatch them up. A woman reported Thursday that a man driving a black truck had stopped a neighbor “and asked questions regarding her family and specifically about her two juvenile male children.”

A Buford woman has also claimed that her 14-year-old son and a friend were approached by a black truck while walking to the Kroger on Ridge Road. In Walton County, the sheriff’s office issued an alert Thursday after receiving a report that two female juveniles walking through a subdivision were followed by a black pickup.

“When the two females started to walk fast, the truck sped up as well,” the alert said.

The connection between each event is unclear — suspect descriptions different greatly in the first two incidents — but Gwinnett County police have received “dozens of calls” reporting suspicious trucks and people, spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.

“Nothing that has led to any significant developments,” Smith said.”The lead detective is going to schedule a sketch artist for early next week.”

In the most recent report, a resident on Lawrenceville’s Brook Creek Way told police that a neighbor had been questioned about her two young sons by a “heavyset male driving a black pickup truck.”

“(She) stated that they had seen a black pickup truck in the area of their subdivision over the last couple of days and that she was concerned after (the neighbor) told her that a stranger had tried to obtain information about her family,” the incident report said.

Another report filed Thursday documented a Lawrenceville woman’s belief that a new neighbor might be tied to the attempted abductions. The woman said the white male in his 40s, who had moved in about two months ago, often wears all black and drives a black SUV.

The initial incident occurred on Jan. 14 in Lawrenceville’s Brooks Crossing subdivision, where a 7-year-old boy playing basketball reported a thin white male getting out of a black pickup and walking quickly toward him. A week later, an 11-year-old boy was walking home from his bus stop on Ballyshannon Drive in Dacula when “a fat man with a beard was driving a black pickup with rusted rims, opened the passenger side door and tried to grab him and pull him into the truck.”