By Barbara Barte Osborn
NEVADA COUNTY -- Following many reports of a man in a red truck trying to pick up children, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office is advising parents to warn their children about being cautious with strangers.
More than 20 calls have been received since mid-September reporting suspicious circumstances involving an older-model red Chevrolet long-bed pickup truck with a white stripe and faded paint, according to a sheriff's news release.
The suspect has been described as a white male with a goatee, possibly in his 30s or 40s.
Reports of sightings have been between the south county and Grass Valley.
However, many of the calls have not included enough information for law enforcement to be able to investigate, according to the release. The descriptions of the man and the truck also varied in the reports.
In several reports, the man asked children or teenagers if they wanted a ride, offered them candy or asked them to help him find a lost puppy.
"Parents are advised to have discussions with their children about personal safety and (to) be cautious with strangers," Sheriff Keith Royal said in the release.
"The common lures of someone offering children a ride for candy, or asking for help with finding lost puppies should always be a red flag," he said.
Although the Sheriff's Office and Grass Valley Police Department have followed up on all possible leads, have contacted all known sex offenders who own red trucks, and have put on extra patrol in the reported areas, no suspects have as yet been identified, Royal said.
Anyone who may have information in this case, or who spots suspicious activities, is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (530) 265-7880 and, in cases of emergency, to call 9-1-1.