Resident: "I really wish he'd get caught."

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "Never in my life," says Lisa Jackson, who lives in Lexington County.

Jackson, who's lived near Midway Street in Lexington County, almost in South Congaree, most of her life, says times have changed for the neighborhood.

"You used to be able to leave your doors unlocked and your windows up," says Jackson.

Monday, a Lexington County Deputy was seen patrolling the area after a nine year old girl reported a suspicious man in her driveway when she got off the school bus last week.

Deputies say the girl, who reportedly became frightened when the man approached her, ran to a neighbor's house and called 911.

The incident sent Jackson door-to-door warning neighbors.

"Without, I guess, everybody in this neighborhood pulling together and keeping a watch out there, there's gonna be something that happens to these kids," says Jackson.

She's not the only resident concerned.

"It's, it's frightening to think that you can't let the kids out to play," says one neighbor.

Another neighbor, who doesn't want to be identified, says she worries for her family.

"I have a 5 year old Granddaughter that spends a lot of time with me," says the neighbor.

In the time ABC Columbia was in the neighborhood Monday afternoon, we noticed a deputy following behind a school bus taking kids home from school.

"It's a lot safer and I know a lot of parents around here feel a lot safer," says Jackson

Another case was reported just last month, also in Lexington County. In that case, deputies say a 14 year old girl said a man asked her to get in his car, parked near bus stop.

Authorities say they don't think the cases are related.

As for the latest incident, residents have one hope.

"I wish he'd get caught, I really do, for every parent's sake out there, I really wish he'd get caught," says Jackson.

The suspect in the most recent incident is described as a male 18-25 years old with brown hair, a mustache and goatee. The car he was reportedly driving is described as a newer model burguny 4-door sedan.

As for the incident reported last month, the suspect in that case is described as a white, heavy set man with a grey goatee and eye glasses. He was reportedly wearing a white-collared shirt and spoke in a deep voice. The car in that case is described as a red, older model 4-door vehicle with damage to the passenger side headlight and a thin piece of black tape across the middle of the rear windshield.

If you have any information about these cases that could help law enforcement, call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

The following is a list of safety tips from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department for children walking home from a public school bus stop:

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

If possible, children should walk away from the school bus stop in a group or groups.

If possible, an adult should be asked to escort a child home if the child will have to walk home alone.

If children notice something out of the ordinary, children should be instructed to immediately begin yelling for help and avoid engaging in a conversation with any person whom they do not know.

Children should immediately seek help at a nearby home or business where the children know that an adult is present.

Children never should get in a motor vehicle if they do not know the person who is driving the vehicle.

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