Man tries to snatch child

Heather Goodwin Henline
Managing Editor

LEWISTOWN, PA. — A 5-year-old girl escaped abduction Tuesday evening,
when the quick actions of her teenage sister and a family friend saved
her from the clutches of a male suspect who had grabbed the youth during
broad daylight, Mifflin County Region Police Patrolman Andre French said.

“A man tried to abduct her right off the street. It doesn’t get much more
serious than that,” French said late Tuesday. “We are urging parents to
use extreme caution and to not let their children out unattended.”

The “criminal attempt child abduction” occurred around 7 p.m. in the
alley between Logan Street and Shaw Avenue, according to a police news

Three females — the 5-year-old girl, her 14-year-old sister and a
20-year-old friend of the family — all were walking in the alley when
they were approached by a van, the release stated.

As the van approached the girls, it slowed and the door opened, according
to the report. One of the occupants of the van made an attempt to
“physically pull the 5-year-old girl into the vehicle,” it stated.

“One of the girls yanked her back, the other one scooped her up and they
fled on foot,” French said. “Those girls instinctively reacted to this
dangerous situation and should be really proud of how they handled this

The vehicle was described as a blue and gray conversion van with a ladder
on top. The girls reported there were two suspects inside the van. The
one who physically went after the 5-year-old was described as a white
male, approximately 30 to 35 years old and who is 5 feet 4 inches to 5
feet 5 inches tall. He was wearing blue jeans, tan hiking boots and a
camouflage hat at the time the incident occurred.

“If my child lived in the Lewistown area, I would not want them out
unsupervised anywhere at any point in time until we get a handle on
this,” French said.

He said he is counting on the community to help catch the individuals
involved in this crime.

“Somebody had to see something. We were in that area several times on
Tuesday for routine patrols. When we went through there, the Twin Kiss
(at 37 Shaw Ave.) was full all evening,” French said. “This happened in
daylight. Somebody saw something, and we need to talk to that person.”

This is the third incident involving young females that has occurred in
Mifflin County in the past 10 days. Police first issued a warning to
parents on April 12, after a man suspected of indecently exposing himself
targeted another young girl and approached her twice from his vehicle.
That incident occurred on Highland Avenue in Derry Township.

The same suspect is wanted in connection with an indecent exposure
incident that occurred April 10 on North Locke Avenue in Yeagertown. In
that incident, the suspect approached two female juveniles, asked the
girls if he could show them something inside his vehicle and proceeded to
expose himself.

That suspect is in his late 30s, has a thin build, has black hair that
does not touch his collar and sports a goatee, police said. He was
driving a Black Ford Bronco or Chevrolet Blazer that is a late 1990s
model with red pin stripes along its sides. The vehicle is reported to be
very clean and in good condition with windows that may be tinted.

It did not match the vehicle’s description from Tuesday’s abduction
attempt. French said he does not believe the cases involve the same

“At this point, we don’t know. The investigation into the incidents in
Yeagertown and the Highland Park area are still open. It is active. That
is all I can tell you,” French said. “This (what happened Tuesday) was an
extremely aggressive act taken toward a young girl. My guess is it is not

The earlier incidents targeted preteens, he said.

Police ask area residents to “ensure their young children are under
constant supervision,” according to the release. They also seek the
public’s help to solve one or all of these cases.

Anyone with information regarding Tuesday’s incident or the two prior
attempts to approach young girls is asked to contact the police
department immediately at 717-248-1900, French said.

“If you have more information, we need to talk to you,” he said

Lewistown Sentinel 2005

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