Susan Quinn waited outside her daughters' elementary school at day's end.
The mom of two East Islip third graders takes no chances with their safety. She makes sure someone is always there to get them home from school.
"They're afraid to go out, afraid to go on their bicycles, afraid to play on their own driveway," said Quinn of her kids.
Many parents in this Suffolk County community were keeping a closer watch on their children on Tuesday. Since October 8th, there have been at least six suspicious incidents that saw young children approached by a suspicious vehicle, according to Suffolk police and East Islip school officials. No children have been injured.
In one incident, a nine year old girl saw the van pull into her driveway as she played there.
In another, a ten year old boy watched as the van drove past his driveway, stopped, then backed up toward him.
"Someone in his house saw the van," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "That's when the boy started yelling and ran inside his house."
The van is described as either red or white in color, police and school officials report. In some cases, a man is inside; in others, a man and woman. Police are trying to determine if the incidents are connected.
"We are pursuing leads in each of these cases and encourage parents and children who witness suspicious activity to contact us," said Suffolk Police Lt. James Gruenfelder. "We would also like to remind parents to review stranger and safety issues with their children."
That has already happened in many households here. Some parents have restricted where their kids can play or ride their bicycles. And on one street, parents have banded together to keep watch over their children.
"You can't trust anybody," said mom Dawn Gamba. "It's terrible."