Police Looking for Man Who is Targeting School Aged Girls
Tonight three attempted abductions of young girls in East Anchorage over a two-week span has everyone searching for a suspect.
Original article posted Jan 29, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVA-CBS 11 News) Tonight three attempted abductions of young girls in East Anchorage over a two-week span has everyone searching for a suspect. Anchorage police and school district officials say this is one of the most dangerous situations they've ever seen with school-aged girls as the targets.
"My guess is that he is operating under the cover of darkness as well where kids are obviously not as visible as they are in the afternoons," said Lt. Nancy Reeder, of Anchorage Police department.
In what is being called a serious threat to the community, police are looking for a man they say is developing a pattern of approaching young females on their way to school in the morning and knocking them down with his SUV and trying to get them inside his vehicle.
"It appears that he is targeting young grade school females, right now the pattern we have is girls between the age of about eight and eleven," said Reeder.
Police are looking for a tall, light skinned, black male, between the ages of 18 and 20 who has short-cropped hair and may be wearing rectangular shaped wired glasses. He has been described as driving a dark colored smaller size SUV with tinted windows but no other distinguishing marks.
So far the incidents have only happened near Creekside, Ptarmigan, and Wonder Park elementary school neighborhoods but officials warn that this could change.
"Parents need to understand that could change at any time so no matter where people live in town those safety rules for children need to be put in place," said Reeder. Simple safety rules like having your children walk in groups and being alert of what's going on around them. "That's so important that we get young people walking together, be very, very alert, and not be afraid to report something, its better to over report than not to report," said Carol Comeau, superintendent for Anchorage School District.
"Let our parents know and make them aware and we'll talk with our kids before they leave school and talk about safety in numbers, and also stranger danger, that we need to be really careful and if someone approaches us that we don't know that we don't talk to them and move as quickly as possible to a safe place," said Theresa Owens, the principal of Creekside Park Elementary.
And if someone approaches and won't go away, officials say to run and make as much noise as possible.
"The young lady this morning did everything right, she didn't get in the vehicle, she tried to get away from the guy even after he knocked her down, she began screaming very loudly, and one of the people that called indicated it was her screaming," said Reeder.
In all three incidents officials are happy disaster was avoided but say in the meantime while the suspect is at large, the entire community needs to have their eyes and ears open.
"We believe that this is an escalating situation and we need the community to be aware of it."
Officials in elementary, middle and high schools talked to kids about potential dangers of strangers and are using newsletters and automated phone lines so parents can be aware of what's going on. In response to these three abduction attempts, police are aggressively monitoring elementary and middle school areas around East Anchorage before and after school and are looking for people and vehicles matching the descriptions given.