Police are hunting a man who tied up an 11-year-old girl in the toilets of her Port Kembla school, and suspect he may have been involved in a second incident.
Lake Illawarra Police are investigating the possibility the man responsible for the attack on the Port Kembla Public schoolgirl on Thursday also approached a Berkeley schoolgirl the same day.
However officers are yet to formally link the two incidents, which happened within several kilometres of each other.
Lake Illawarra Local Area Command Superintendent Wayne Starling said that at about 1.20pm on Thursday, a girl entered the girls’ toilets at her school on Gloucester Boulevard, Port Kembla.
A male then grabbed the girl as she left the toilet block, before forcing her into a cubicle and tying her up. The man, described as 165-170 centimetres tall and wearing black tracksuit pants, a black hooded jumper and black joggers, then fled.
Superintendent Starling said the girl managed to free herself and reported the incident to a teacher.
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 now looking into possible links with a second incident at another school in George St, Berkeley, which was estimated to have occurred about 10 minutes later.
In that incident, a 12-year-old girl was walking between classrooms on the school grounds around 1.30pm 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, who was described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged about 25 years, of medium build and with olive skin.
He was wearing three-quarter length black pants, a grey hooded jumper, and black and green shoes.
There were six kilometres between the two schools where the incidents took place, Superintendent Starling said.
‘‘However while there is a 10-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.’’
Superintendent Starling said police had established a strike force to investigate the incidents. Anyone with information is urged to contact Lake Illawarra Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.