URBANA - Urbana police are investigating a report of a teen in that city being asked by a man she didn't know if she wanted a ride Tuesday.
The incident was reported to police about 12:20 p.m. Tuesday and made public early Wednesday evening.
It happened in the 1600 block of Kinch Street, where the 14-year-old, who was home from school sick, was walking to a friend's house.
According to Urbana police, a black man in a pickup truck asked if she wanted a ride. She said no, kept walking, and met up with a woman she recognized and the two of them contacted police.
The girl described the man as being in his 30s, with a "chubby face" and a mustache. He was wearing a red shirt or jacket.
The truck was described as a newer-looking pickup, small, built low to the ground, and silver in color with a stripe on the side that had some gold in it.
Police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said his investigators are working with Champaign police to see if this description fits any of the three cases involving Champaign children being approached by a black man on Sept. 20, 26 or 28 in that city.
Champaign police have received a total of nine calls involving men trying to lure children into vehicles since Sept. 20. Six have involved a white man; three involved black men.
Urbana police also reported on Wednesday evening an incident that happened Aug. 31, that at the time, appeared to be isolated.
On that day, an Urbana Middle School boy was walking near Florida and Broadway when he was approached by a white man in a red "sporty" four-door car. The student reported that the man, about 40, had red hair, a goatee and a muscular build. The man stopped in the road and ordered the boy to get in but the boy continued walking until he arrived home.
The incident was promptly reported, Seraphin said, but in light of the recent activity, police decided to publicize it beyond the normal police summaries that are released daily.
"Clearly the community dynamic has shifted in the last two to three weeks with regard to this issue," he said.
Seraphin said he didn't know enough about Champaign's cases to say with any confidence that the white man is the same person Champaign police are seeking, but there are similarities to the description released by Champaign police.
On Friday, Champaign police said they are looking for a white man with average build and weight, about 30, with blond hair that's mid-ear length or longer and a beard of a couple days' growth.