Lake Illawarra Police are appealing for information after an 11-year-old schoolgirl was allegedly tied up in the toilets of her school at Port Kembla.
Police are also investigating the possibility the incident is linked to a second reported approach at a school at Berkeley on the same day.
Lake Illawarra Local Area Command Superintendent Wayne Starling said that at about 1.20pm on Thursday afternoon, a girl entered the girls’ toilets at her school on Gloucester Boulevard, Port Kembla.
As she was leaving the toilet block, a man allegedly grabbed the girl and forced her into a toilet cubicle, where he tied her up. The man then fled from the toilets.
Mr Starling said the girl managed to free herself and reported the incident to a teacher.
He said the man has been described as 165cm to 170cm tall and was wearing black tracksuit pants, a black hooded jumper and black joggers.
Mr Starling said the girl was not injured during the incident.
‘‘However it is still very harrowing for the girl, very harrowing for the parents and very distressing for school teachers and others so we are doing everything we can,’’ Mr Starling said.
‘‘This is one of the more unusual incidents I have come across in many years.
‘‘There is definitely no need for the community to panic, however we do need the assistance of the community to arrest this person and put the person where they belong.’’
Police are looking into possible links with a second incident at another school in George St, Berkeley which was estimated to have occurred about ten minutes later.
Police say that about 1.30pm a 12-year-old girl was walking between classrooms on the school grounds when she saw a man a short distance away.
He gestured for her to come towards him and the girl ran back to her classroom.
Police were contacted and conducted a search of the school but could not find the man.
He was described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged about 25 years, of medium build and with olive skin.
At the time he was wearing three-quarter length black pants, a grey hooded jumper, and black and green shoes.
‘‘There is six kilometre distance between the two schools where the incidents took place,’’ Mr Starling said
‘‘However while there is a ten minute time difference between the two incidents, the children could be slightly mistaken with the times.
‘‘While we have no evidence to link the offences, especially seeing there is different clothing, we just don’t assume.
‘‘If the person at the school in Berkeley was there for a legitimate reason we ask that they come forward as well.
Mr Starling said Police have established a strike force to investigate the incidents.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Lake Illawarra Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.