Unmarked van sparks concerns around school campuses

Unmarked van sparks concerns around school campuses

A few incidents in Rio Rancho involving a mysterious van have some parents on edge. It's been popping up near schools in the past week.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — All parents want is for their kids to be safe, especially when leaving them at school, but a few incidents in Rio Rancho have them on edge.

A suspicious white van has been popping up around schools in the past week. Now, the district is involved. Officials say they aren’t taking any chances.

On Friday, October 20, people saw a white van on Cleveland High School’s property. School security approached the driver who said he was trying to walk his dog. Then, the driver left and that was it.

“On Monday October 23, we had another white van matching that description. That was seen picking up a student near the area of Rio Rancho Elementary School. We didn’t receive any information that anything was afoul or anything. But, when you tie it into what happened on Tuesday it did cause some concern,” said Sal Maniaci, the executive director for safety and security at RRPS.

Then, on Tuesday…

“Again a white van, matching the same description of the other incidents, appeared to be following a student home on a residential street. As a student was approaching the residence, the mother was out there waiting for the student. The mother saw that and immediately sped from the area,” Maniaci said.

One parent event spotted the van and captured some pictures from afar.

While another saw a white van near Lincoln Middle School around 3:30 p.m., just after school got out.

School officials say the description of the white van doesn’t always match. However, the fact that every report mentions a white van is enough for them to take a second look.

“Extra eyes, extra ears, making sure we are keeping a good close eye on what is going on in our school and around our schools. Second, this is what we want to get at. Just like we appreciate your help getting it out there, we want to get information to parents to educate our kids,” Maniaci said.

With a good amount of kids walking to and from school, RRPS is asking parents to talk to their kids about “stranger danger.” They say kids should never approach a vehicle they don’t recognize.

The Rio Rancho Police Department is also investigating this. If anyone has information or has seen something similar, they should call police.