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IE authorities concerned by attempted abductions

February 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The search is on for two men who authorities say tried to kidnap two kids walking home from school. Both children managed to escape. The attempted abductions happened Monday afternoon, just minutes apart. While investigators don't believe the incidents are connected, they're concerned.

The first incident happened in Lake Elsinore, and the second incident happened in Nuevo.

Concerned parents waited outside Terra Cotta Middle School in Lake Elsinore to pick up their children Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the week, school district officials sent out an emergency telephone message alerting parents about an attempted kidnapping.

"I want to keep my kids safe, and I want them to stay home with me, but I know they can't, they have to go to school," said parent Carla Thompson.

Authorities said a man attempted to pull an 11-year-old boy into his truck as he was walking home from school on Lincoln Street. The sixth-grader told investigators he managed to wrestle his arm out of the suspect's grasp and run to his 18-year-old brother nearby.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man about 60 years old with a medium build and black hair. He may have a tattoo on his right forearm. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt and had on glasses with a dark frame.

As a result of the near kidnapping, the Lake Elsinore Unified School District stepped up security on its campuses.

"We have four schools in fairly close proximity to the reported location of this incident, so we are greatly concerned when something like this is reported," said Mark Dennis of Lake Elsinore Unified School District.

Less than an hour later, a 15-year-old girl walking home near 10th Street and Lakeview Avenue in Nuevo escaped being pulled into a minivan.

Despite the similar incidents, investigators say they don't believe the two are connected.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Riverside County Sheriff's Department at (951) 776-1099.