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Rabbi's Son, 2, Turns Up With Man in Tijuana

April 23, 1986|BARRY S. SURMAN | Times Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER — The 2-year-old son of a Westminster rabbi turned up apparently unharmed Tuesday in Tijuana, half a day after he was abducted, police said. A member of the Orthodox rabbi's congregation is suspected.

The boy, Zalman Berkowitz, and his suspected abductor, Alexander Gelman, 40, of Santa Ana, were in custody Tuesday in Tijuana after being involved in a minor traffic accident there, according to Westminster Police Capt. Joe Woods.

"He apparently just walked away with the child" Monday night, Woods said.

Neither the Berkowitz family nor police officials could explain why Gelman might have taken the boy from his home.

The boy's father, Rabbi Aron D. Berkowitz, declined to discuss the incident. Berkowitz is the leader of the Orthodox Chabad of west Orange County.

Gelman reportedly told police in Tijuana that he took the youngster from his home but could not remember how they got to Tijuana nor how he crashed his car into another car about 12 hours after leaving Westminster.

The FBI is investigating.

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