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Long IslandCrime

Man lured teen into van near Westbury High School, cops say

Denis Melara, 32, of Glen Head, was arrested

Denis Melara, 32, of Glen Head, was arrested for allegedly luring a child on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Westbury, according to Nassau County police. Credit: NCPD

A Glen Head man faced a judge Saturday on charges of child endangerment after he lured a 15-year-old girl into his van, officials said.

Denis Melara, 32, was jailed on bail of $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead, according to court officials. He is due back in court Monday.

Nassau County police said in a news release Saturday that Melara, of Glen Cove Road, was driving a white Ford van on Grand Boulevard in Westbury at about 9 a.m. Thursday when he spotted the teen walking to school. He told her to enter his van, and the girl complied, police said, and Melara tried to convince her not to go to school.

Police said the victim believed Melara was a friend of her mother’s, but then “felt something was wrong” and told Melara she wanted to go to school. Melara then dropped her off near Westbury High School, police said.

Police said they found and arrested Melara on Friday.

Melara was charged with luring a child, fourth-degree criminal solicitation, and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

Police asked anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a similar crime to call the Third Precinct at 516-573-6353.

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