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Suspects attempt to snatch 2 schoolkids

September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
There were two attempted kidnappings of schoolchildren in Long Beach Wednesday morning. The first one was at International Elementary School; the second, at Edison Elementary. Police are asking the public for help in finding the suspects. These were two separate cases at two different schools.

Both of them happened Wednesday morning, but police say it does not appear they are connected. Parents are trying to sort out the facts. Police say children did the right thing.

It happened at 7:30 a.m. right outside International Elementary. Police say a middle-aged Hispanic man motioned at a 9-year-old boy. Investigators say he wanted the boy to get into his light-blue pickup truck, but the boy ran into the school and told his teachers.

"At this time, we don't think any crime occurred there, but we think it's significant, and we wanted to bring it to the public's attention," said Long Beach Police Sergeant Dan Marander.

About half an hour later and about a mile away, a man attempted a kidnapping at Edison Elementary. Police say a man grabbed an 8-year-old girl by the arm and tried to pull her into a stairwell.

"It's a street that we use as the parking lot, it's kind of a public street. We have adults and parents that walk in the area just to drop off kids," said Edison Elementary Principal Richard Littlejohn.

The little girl kicked and struggled and got away. But so did the alleged kidnapper.

"That's a very serious charge whenever you have an adult that is obviously trying to control a young child or take them away," said Sgt. Marander.

Angelita Valdez's four grandchildren attend Edison Elementary. She says she is constantly reminding them not to talk to strangers, and she tries to walk them to and from home.

Angelina Gonzalez's little sister attends Edison. The news Wednesday, she says, is disturbing.

"I just wondered why would someone want to do something like that? And especially to a little kid," said Gonzalez.

The suspect in the first incident is described as a 40-year-old Hispanic man with his front teeth missing. The second suspect is described as Caucasian with white hair, spotted at Edison Elementary School.

Anyone with information on these two people is asked to call the Long Beach Police Dept. at (562) 570-7368.

Long Beach Police say they will have more patrols in the area Thursday. Changes are also planned to keep students safer.

 

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