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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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Man charged with luring young girls in several Bergen towns

Photo Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: If the charges against an Upper Saddle River man accused of trying to lure young girls into his car stick, he was prowling familiar ground: Shahan Achian attended Emil A. Cavallini Middle School and was graduated from Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, according to databases accessed by CLIFFVIEW PILOT . He’s recently been living with his 72-year-old father.

Shahan Achian (MUGSHOT: Bergen County Prosecutor)

Authorities brought Achian to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in Paramus for questioning on Wednesday after discovering that Montvale police had given him a ticket two months ago for having tinted windows on his 2008 black Cadillac Escalade.

As it turned out, the luxury SUV and Achian matched descriptions given by girls in a few towns who said a creepy stranger pulled up to them on the street and offered money for sex.

All are under 16, including one who is 11, police records show.

Achian — who is single, unemployed and likes to call himself “Shahan Situation” — is being held on $200,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail following his arrest by detectives from the prosecutor’s Sex Crimes Unit on charges of luring and child endangerment.

Meanwhile, authorities are asking any other girls who may have been approached to contact their local police department immediately.

Allendale police last month issued an alert after two fifth-graders walking home from school were approached on Dale Avenue, just off of West Orchard Street. The driver of the black car was described as white, around 30 years old, with short, dark hair, they said.

“I will give you $1000 for [sexual act],” the girls told police he said.

When they declined, they said, he asked, “Are you sure?” When he persisted, police said, the girls ran home and told their parents. They provided good descriptions of the SUV and of the man behind the wheel.

That same day — Oct. 21: Achian’s 26th birthday — police in Ho-Ho-Kus received a similar report, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Similar incidents were reported in Glen Rock and Ridgewood in October.

The most recent was on Nov. 7.

In that incident, an 11-year-old Montvale girl walking home from school on Akers Avenue, near Grand Avenue, was approached by a man she described as about 40, with a thin build and wearing a scruffy beard and sunglasses. He, too, was driving a black SUV.

The youngster later told police that he offered her $1,000 for sexual favors, and said, “I promise you will like it.” So she ran home.

Local police already were having discussions with sex crimes detectives from the prosecutor’s office and getting the word out to the public. They encouraged parents to use the scary incidents as teaching moments, to tell their children to run from trouble and to take notice of particular details.

Then came a big break: As it turns out, Montvale police gave Achian a ticket for having tinted windows on the Escalade the same day as the first reported incident, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. Detectives investigating the various incidents checked area motor vehicle stops and found a match.

Then they dug a little deeper.

The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children offers these tips for parents :

1. Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and
safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help.

2. Remind your children to go with a friend whenever they walk or bike to school.

3. Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless in each instance you
have told them it is OK to do so.

4. Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose
homes they may visit without you.

5. Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared,
uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone
makes them feel this way.

6. Teach your children to ask permission before leaving home.

7. Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.

8. Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.

9. Practice “what if” situations and ask your children how they would respond, for example: “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”

10. Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.

11. During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins should you get separated.

12. Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.

13. Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks so they can deal with them if they happen.

14. Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

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