PERKINS TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) – Authorities in Erie County are trying to identify a man who they believe may have been trying to lure children into his minivan by dressing up as Spider-Man. 

The Marvel Comics character has captivated generations of children by stopping villains with his web-slinging wizardry.

Perkins Township police are investigating the possibility that the man wearing the costume and a passenger were trying to lure children taking part in a small party last Friday night in the parking lot of a hotel on Milan Road.

“From what we’re being told, the kids saw this person, got excited because it was Spider-Man and ran over to the van to see what was going on. It was like a ‘here’s candy, get into your van’ type of deal,” Perkins Township Detective Joe Rotuno said. “When kids see that type of stuff, I mean, they’re going to immediately want to go to that person.”

Police say, fortunately, parents heard the commotion near the minivan and when they called out to their children, the driver in the Spider-Man costume drove away, but not before surveillance cameras captured video of the vehicle.  

“The parents did everything right. The kids were with them, they were keeping an eye on kind of what was going on. You know, God forbid, if these kids were outside by themselves with no parent supervision, this could have been a lot different kind of situation,” said Rotuno.

Police say they are not sure what the intentions of the man in the Spider-Man costume may have been, but because of the unusual nature of the incident, they have placed a high priority on identifying him, along with the passenger in the minivan. 

“Kids being approached by anybody that’s not a parent or guardian is a concern. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you just don’t know anymore,” said Rotuno.

Investigators believe the vehicle caught on video is a 2005 to 2007 light blue or gray Honda Odyssey.

Police say they are sharing details about the investigation so that parents will be on alert and discuss the situation with their children.

“It’s sad that we’re to that point in our society with a lot if these type of things, but parents again need to be aware of where their children are at and what they’re doing, especially when they’re out in a public area like that,” said Rotuno. 

Anyone who can help identify the driver of the minivan and his passenger is asked to call Perkins Township police at 419-627-0824.