Parents On Edge After Another Attempted Child Abduction In New Jersey
HAWTHORNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — In New Jersey, another narrow escape from the clutches of an apparent child abductor had Bergen County parents on edge this weekend.
As CBS 2’s Drew Levinson reports, in recent days, Hackensack, Oradell, Maywood and now Hawthorne have been targeted.
In the latest case, police in Hawthorne have been looking for a man they said came to a sports complex on Wagaraw Avenue and tried to abduct a 13-year-old girl.
They say the girl was attending a soccer game at the sports complex when the man allegedly approached her near a wooded area.
“It’s scary to think there’s someone out there lurking,” said Tracie Romero of Hawthorne.
On Saturday, parents were out to enjoy a fun weekend relaxing and watching their children. But they were fearful that there was someone out there lurking.
“It’s upsetting. It’s scary, you know, especially when you have kids,” said Rosa Edison, a Hawthorne mother.
“Anytime, anywhere, your child can be taken away from you, and it’s not going to hit home until it happens, and then it’s too late,” said Carlos Restrepo of Hawthorne.
Police say the 13-year old was approached by a man wearing a dark hoodie and jeans.
“He said, ‘Come on, let’s go, grabbed her by the arm, and attempted to more or less walk her out of the area, to a footbridge that leads to an additional parking lot,” said Hawthorne police Capt. Richard McAuliffe.
The girl managed to break free, but did not get a good look at her attacker. He may have been driving a red vehicle.
This was the fourth incident in recent days. There were cases in Hackensack, Oradell and Maywood.
Police have not connected the cases, but the departments are working together.
Police said an older man with a scruffy beard, driving a Jeep Wrangler, pulled up to the intersection of Union and Sussex Street and asked the boy for directions to Costco. However, the boy refused and got away, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
Earlier, police had been investigating the possibility the same man may be responsible for attempted luring incidents in Oradell and Maywood.
Last Saturday, an 8-year-old girl in the front yard of her grandparents’ home in Maywood was asked if she wanted to go with the suspect and see his puppies.
On Tuesday, a 7-year-old girl was approached by a man the girl claimed got out of a gray car. She was also able to get away from the suspect.
Authorities said teenagers need to be especially alert, even in crowded areas.
“Go in groups of two or three or four other students, so that way they’re not left alone and not left vulnerable,” McAuliffe said.
Police said anyone who sees suspicious activity should call 911 immediately.