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Man Held in Kidnapping of Girl

August 13, 2000|MONTE MORIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Ontario man was being held Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl on a La Mirada street, blindfolding her and taking her on a harrowing 30-minute drive.

William Thomas, 45, was arrested late Friday after leading police and sheriff's deputies on a chase that ended when his car blew a tire and he tried to run, authorities said.

The alleged kidnapping occurred about 8 p.m. near Singleton and Weeks drives. Neighbors noticed a man in a white compact car driving back and forth. The driver stopped, grabbed the girl and pulled her into the car, authorities said. Neighbors immediately called the sheriff's Norwalk station.

The girl later told police the driver blindfolded her, and that she pleaded with him to release her as he drove around for 30 minutes. Eventually, he pulled into a La Habra liquor store and freed her.

"The girl went into the store, and someone let her use a cell phone to call home," said Lt. Mark Thompson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, the suspect reportedly pulled into traffic from an alley, attracting the attention of a La Habra police officer who thought he had committed a moving violation and tried to pull him over.

Thomas, however, sped away, police said. A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy heard the car's description and joined the chase, which ended in Brea.

Authorities said Thomas ran a short distance and then became aggressive with police, who doused him with pepper spray. The girl, who was unharmed, was taken to the scene and identified the man as her abductor, authorities said.

The Sheriff's Department said investigators don't know why the girl was taken, and that Thomas denied having abducted her. He was held without bail at the jail ward of the Los Angeles County Hospital for parole violations.

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