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California Briefing / LONG BEACH

Children elude kidnap attempts

September 11, 2008|Amanda Covarrubias

An 8-year-old girl eluded a kidnapping attempt at her elementary school in Long Beach on Wednesday, and a 9-year-old boy walking to a different school nearby evaded a stranger who tried to lure him to his vehicle, police said.

The incidents appeared to be unrelated, said Sgt. Dina Zapalski of the Long Beach Police Department.

"It's highly unusual to have two incidents with two different types of suspects so close together, time-wise and location-wise," Zapalski said.

The boy was on his way to International Elementary School in the 700 block of Locust Avenue about 7:30 a.m. when he was approached by a man in a light-blue pickup truck who motioned for the boy to get in the vehicle.

The boy ignored him, ran to the campus and told school officials, police said.

The man was described as a dark-skinned Latino in his 40s, with white and black curly hair, wearing a light-blue shirt and missing his front teeth.

He was clean-shaven, Zapalski said.

About half an hour later, at Edison Elementary School about a mile away, a man in a stairwell grabbed an 8-year-old girl by the wrist, but she struggled and got away, Zapalski said. The man was described as white, with white hair and facial hair. He was wearing a white shirt and jeans.

Police patrols were added to the streets around area schools today, as a precaution, Zapalski said.

-- Amanda Covarrubias

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