NEWPORT NEWS - Two high school students say a man tried to rob them as they walked to school in Newport News Thursday morning.
"There were two reports from Woodside High School students who had taken a cut-through the woods," police spokesman Lou Thurston said. "Students use the area to cross a wooded portion of school property."
The incidents occurred within 15 minutes - at 6:40 a.m. and at 6:55 a.m. - in the area of Winslow and Elsie drives near a retention pond for the school.
Police say the 16-year-olds, a girl and boy, reported a man with a gun who had on a mask jumped out from the bushes, demanded valuables and went through their back packs.
He stressed the students weren't hurt and the suspect didn't take anything.
Detectives and K-9s continue to search the area in the north end of the city.
The school principal notified staff and students of the incidents in an announcement this morning and sent a phone message to the students’ families, said spokeswoman Michelle Price.
The principal encouraged students to walk in groups and avoid isolated areas like the woods.
Woodside does not have a walk zone, so all students have been asked to ride the bus to school to ensure their safety.
The suspect is described by the students as black, possibly a teenager, who had on dark clothing and a dark colored bandanna over his face. He's 5’4” to 5’7” tall with a medium to thick build.
Anyone with information can call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.;