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Santa Monica attempted kidnappings have police on alert

Santa Monica police are warning women to be vigilant following two attempted kidnappings within three days.
January 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Santa Monica police are warning women in the city to be vigilant following two attempted kidnapping incidents within three days.

The first incident occurred Wednesday at approximately 8 p.m. A woman in her 60s was walking on the sidewalk in the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue when police say the suspect drove past her and pulled over to the curb in front of her. The suspect exited the vehicle and stood near the car as if he was waiting for someone.

As the woman passed by, authorities said the suspect grabbed her in a bear hug and moved her toward his car while ordering her to get inside. During the struggle, the suspect saw someone witnessing the incident at a nearby apartment building and let go of the victim.

The victim alerted police immediately. The suspect was described as an African American man in his 30s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing between 220 and 230 pounds, with short, shaved hair and a beard. He was said to be wearing blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt. The suspect's car was described as a late-model, four-door, black Volkswagen hatch-back with tinted windows.

The second incident occurred Friday at approximately 10:30 a.m. A woman in her late-20s was walking southbound on 14th Street near Olympic Boulevard when she saw a man walking ahead of her on the same side of the street. She didn't pay him much attention and eventually passed him in the 1900 block of 14th Street.

Moments later, she said she heard footsteps behind her and felt the suspect grab her waist with one hand as he covered her mouth with the other. The suspect ordered the woman to get in his car, but the victim screamed and ran away, heading south toward Pico Boulevard. The suspect fled in the opposite direction.

The victim did not see the suspect's car, but she described the suspect as an African American man in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall with short, shaved hair and a thin build. He was said to be wearing dark colored shorts with an orange or red stripe on them and a matching short sleeve shirt.

Detectives said they are continuing their investigation, which will include reviewing surveillance videos from where the crimes took place. Police say it remains unclear whether the same man is responsible for both attempted kidnappings, but the details involved in both cases are similar. The fact that one crime was done in broad daylight and both were done in busy areas emphasize the dangerous and bold nature of the suspect(s).

Investigators are warning women to remain alert and avoid walking alone when possible.

"We're asking women to be vigilant and keep your eyes open. If you're going to walk down the sidewalk or walk down the street, try and bring a friend with you. If you can't bring a friend, try and walk maybe on the inside of the sidewalk. Try and walk against the flow of traffic as opposed to with the flow of traffic so people can't pass you and just stop right there," said Sgt. Jay Moroso with Santa Monica police.

If you have any information about these cases or see anything suspicious, you're urged to contact the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.


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