DURHAM (WTVD) --Police are investigating what they call two "suspicious incidents" at school bus stops involving young girls.
On Monday at about 6:25 a.m., officers said two girls, ages 11 and 13, were at a bus stop near a dark, undeveloped cul-de-sac in the Franklin Village neighborhood. The driver of a brown or champagne-colored SUV with its lights off reportedly got out of the vehicle and chased after them. The girls were able to run home.
Sheryl Smith, Vice President of the Franklin Village Resident Council, told ABC11 she talked with the girls' father soon after the incident.
"He heard them scream, so he thought it was a dog or something after the kids, so he ran in the house, got his gun and came out, and by that time the children were running towards him," she said.
Smith said the man did not catch a glimpse of the suspect.
On Wednesday, in another neighborhood about a mile away on Linwood Avenue and Grant Street, police said a 13-year-old girl was waiting alone at her bus stop when two men walked out of the woods, one of them armed with a knife, and grabbed her.
That incident also happened near a dimly-lit, partially undeveloped cul-de-sac surrounded mostly by woods.
Police said the girl was able to fight the men off; when a neighbor yelled at the men, he ran away.
The suspects were described as being in their 20s or 30s and wearing hoodies. One of the men had a chipped tooth and a tattoo on one of his fingers.
Smith said since Monday's incident in Franklin Village, a Durham police officer has parked in the cul-de-sac during the dark, early morning hours while children wait for their school bus.
Still, she said a long-term solution that would keep kids safer would be to move the bus stop away from the undeveloped area of the neighborhood, one block over to where their homes are.
Smith planned to ask the Durham County Board of Education to consider the change at Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting.
"They say they're about our kids' safety and this is one of the issues we have for the kids' safety," she said.
Durham police are asking parents and families to wait with students at the bus stop, and to call 911 at the sight of any suspicious activity.
Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.
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