Update, Oct. 19, 12:30 p.m.: East Hampton Town police identified the man who was arrested after he approached to a Springs School student on her way home from school as Mariano Melchor-Galindo, 35, of East Hampton.
Previously: Parents received word on Thursday that a student was approached by a strange man while walking home from school on Wednesday afternoon.
Eric M. Casale, the principal at Springs School, sent a note to parents on Thursday morning to alert them of a safety concern. He said East Hampton Town police contacted him last night after a man riding a bike approached a student.
"The man tried to approach the child but the child followed the stranger danger protocol and ran away home to report the incident to his/her parents," Casale said. "The police were notified. Due to the child’s comprehensive description of the man, the police were able to apprehend and arrest the individual."
East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker said the middle-aged man made inappropriate comments toward a 9-year-old girl in the area of Parsons Lane. "That scares and frightens her. She runs home," Ecker said. "She gets out of there pretty quickly. She sounds like a pretty savvy kid."
Using the description of the man the girl provided, police located him at the Barnes General Store. The man was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, which is levied when a defendant is accused of "acting in a manner injurious to a child's physical, mental and moral welfare," Ecker said.
His name was not immediately available.
"It was not an attempted abduction," Ecker confirmed.
"We are asking our teachers and our parents to please spend some time going over protocols with our children regarding how to deal with strangers. This is even more important as Halloween is around the corner and many kids will be out," Casale said. "I would like to commend the East Hampton Police Department for the way they handled this issue."
Casale said the school would sent home a letter with the children, as well.
The letter was circulated to other school districts, as well.