The suspect was spotted caught on surveillance video, walking a few blocks away from the Dunkin Donuts on East 21st Street and First Avenue after the incident.
The girl was not injured and police are asking for the public’s help to identify the suspect, especially given that two schools are located near the store, which regularly attracts students as customers.
Neighbors are puzzled by the allegations. This Dunkin Donuts is lined with windows, is at a busy corner and is always crowded.
East Side resident Cynthia McCaffrey was alarmed by the news. Her own daughters are 7 and 10-years-old.
“It’s got windows. It’s right near our schools. Hopefully it was handled quickly and effectively and that she’s all right,” she told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider.
“It’s kind of scary because I go here every morning,” said resident Corey Brokaw. “It’s not uncommon to see kids alone in there.”
Employees say the Dunkin Donuts was very crowded at the time of the incident and that the little girl never told them what happened.
“There’s a lot of kids in the city and we raise our kids to be city kids, so they have to be street smart and we talk about safety and we talk about how to talk to strangers, and not to talk to strangers all the time,” McCaffrey said.
Anyone with information should call police or Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
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