Alexandria police want to talk to man who has approached children

Alexandria police are investigating two reports in recent weeks of an older stranger approaching children in a way that is not criminal, but unusual enough that detectives want to talk to the man.

In both cases, police said, the man simply talked to the elementary school-aged children and left, never trying to persuade them into his car or get them to go anywhere with him.

Police do not believe the incidents are connected to the recent, unsolved killing of 59-year-old Ruthanne Lodato, who was gunned down in the doorway of her home on Ridge Road Drive by an attacker police have also described as an older white man.

Crystal Nosal, an Alexandria Police Department spokeswoman, said the children’s parents showed them a sketch of the killing suspect, and the children said it did not match the man who approached them.

Police said the man approaching children was white, about 60 to 70 years old, had gray hair and seemed to be driving older model green Subaru. The first of the incidents, they said, came on Jan. 31, when a man approached a boy walking his dog in the 400 block of Crown View Lane. The next occurred on Feb. 7, when a man approached two boys walking home from George Mason Elementary.

Police said that though the man “has not committed a crime,” detectives would like to speak with him. Anyone with information is asked to call or e-mail Detective Ryan Clinch at 703.746.6673 or ryan.clinch@alexandriava.gov.

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Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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