Man accused of luring teen girl into his van

Posted: Updated:
WESTBURY -

A Glen Head man was in court Saturday after being accused of luring a teenager into his van on Thursday morning.

Investigators say Denis Melara, 32, approached the teenager in a white-colored van on Grand Boulevard in Westbury while she was walking to school.

Melara allegedly told that teenager to get inside his vehicle. Police say the girl got into the vehicle, believing the suspect was her mother's friend.

The suspect allegedly tried convincing the girl to stay with him, but police say he did ultimately drop her off somewhere near Westbury High School. During the trip, police say he offered the girl $100 and asked, “Are you sure you want to go to school, or do you want to go somewhere else?"

The suspect was tracked down by investigators Friday and placed under arrest.

Melara was charged with luring a child, criminal solicitation, and endangering the welfare of a child. His bail was set at $5,000.

Police want anyone who may have been a victim of a similar crime to call Nassau's Third Precinct at 516-573-6353.

Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahearn says the young girl is lucky she was not harmed.

“Children shouldn't be walking alone. Children and teens should be reminded not to get into a vehicle with anyone, even if it's someone they know, if their mom or dad or trusted adult is not aware,” says Ahearn.

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