HOW POLICE TRACKED HIM DOWN (Cops say tracking bracelet worn by Mastic man on parole for drug bust was key in bringing him in)
Concern about predators targeting students continued to climb in the William Floyd School District after a third student in the past two weeks was threatened near a school. The incident early January 17, in which a man tried to lure a 12 year old girl into his SUV, prompted district officials to cancel recesses. School officials said they were informed of the new threat as school opened on a day set aside for state testing and sent out early-morning phone messages warning parents. The man pulled up at the corner of Madison Street and Pawnee Avenue in Mastic and tried to lure the girl, who was waiting for a school bus with a male student. He said, Why don't you jump in the car and I'll take you to school? The girl backed away and refused. The man continued to entreat the girl to get in the vehicle as the bus approached. Both children ran to tell the bus driver, who called 911 and drove the students to school, where they spoke with school administrators and later the police.
Wayne McGowan, 39, was arrested and charged with stalking the girl. He was wearing an electronic device on his ankle that helped catch him, just days before he was to complete federal probation on a heroin conviction. Police do not believe McGowan is connected to the other recent high-profile incidents involving students in the area. The ankle bracelet McGowan was wearing, plus an anonymous tipster and a vehicles database, helped police focus on him and the distinctive red Hummer truck he was driving when the girl was accosted last week.
According to the New York State Sex Offender Registry, there are 17 Level 2 offenders and eight Level 3 offenders living in the zip codes served by the William Floyd district. Police are investigating whether a sex offender is involved but have not made a connection or found a relationship among the incidents.