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Officials: Differing accounts of Rockville Centre stalking

Police released a sketch of a man they

Police released a sketch of a man they believe stalked a girl on Tuesday in Rockville Centre. Credit: NCPD

Nassau County and Rockville Centre police and school officials are giving different accounts of an alleged stalking last week of a 10-year-old girl on her way to a bus stop.

Both law-enforcement agencies were searching for the suspect, described as a man in his 30s with black, braided hair and a black, braided beard.

County police say a man randomly approached the girl and showed her a handgun and knife; Rockville Centre police and school officials said the girl was targeted, but no complaints to them about the incident mentioned any weapons.

The village police pointed out the differences in accounts in a statement Monday.

“Please be aware that although some news outlets have reported the suspect possessing a gun and knife, no reports of that kind have been made to the Rockville Centre Police Department,” the statement said.

Nassau police stand by their initial report, a spokesman said Monday. The girl, the representative said, wasn’t “targeted specifically” and the man “did display weapons, a gun and a knife.”

Late Sunday, Nassau police said the girl was walking to her bus stop near North Forest and Maple avenues about 8:30 a.m. last Tuesday when the man approached and tried to get the girl to go with him.

When the girl refused, Nassau police said, the suspect showed her a handgun and a knife in his waistband. The girl instead ran toward parents and other students at the bus stop, police said. They also said the man has been seen near the Francis F. Wilson Elementary School in Rockville Centre.

In a letter to parents Monday, the school district said “the allegation that this individual was at some point in time” at the school couldn’t be corroborated — and said that, based on its information, there was no indication “that any other student in the school or the district had been in danger.”

“The facts, as reported to us, are significantly different than those reported” in the news and on social media, the district said. “As was reported, this was not a random but a targeted incident, related to one individual that did not involve any weapons.”

County police are asking anyone with information about the suspect, the incident or about similar incidents to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.With Stefanie Dazio

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