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Suspect scared off by mother's scream

June 24, 2008 1:31:27 PM PDT
Police search for a man who they say attempted to kidnap a five-year-old girl from a clothing store in Long Beach Towne Center Sunday evening.A mother and her 5-year-old were shopping together around 7 p.m. when the suspect spotted the little girl, police said. He waited for the girl to wander off, and when that happened, the suspect moved in.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Lisa Hernandez's report from the scene.

Police said the suspect picked up the girl and headed for the door. The mom realized the daughter had left her side and searched frantically around the store, only to see a total stranger trying to take off with her child.

She screamed so loudly that police said it prompted the suspect to drop the child and flee.

Authorities said if the mother hadn't acted quickly, the little girl would have been gone.

"When you're out in a large store, in a mall, or anywhere with your children, they sometimes do run from us, and we do have to be careful. We just need to make sure we know where our children are at all times. This mother obviously lost sight of her child for a few moments, but was looking for her fortunately. If she had been distracted and kept shopping and did not know she was missing, who knows what would have happened," said Sgt. Dina Zapalski of the Long Beach Police Department.

Police would not say what store the incident occurred, and the only suspect description that police had was a Latino man wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

Police are reviewing surveillance video as they continue to investigate the attempted kidnapping.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Long Beach Police department at (562)570-7368.

 

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