Whittier police investigating a series of recent attempted kidnappings of girls were looking for a suspect today and trying to find a girl of about 7 who got out of the man’s car and ran away.
The latest incident occurred about 2:35 p.m., Thursday Feb. 21 in front of Founders Park near Broadway and Citrus Street, police said.
According to police, the suspect grabbed the 11-year-old girl and put her in the back seat of a car while she was walking alone, but she managed to free herself and a girl of around 7, who was already in the car, crying.
Both girls got out and ran in opposite directions.
The 11-year-old got home and called police, but the whereabouts of the other girl is not known, said Whittier police Officer Brad White. The girls did not know one another, White said.
White said police have not received any report of a missing girl, and he urged anyone knowing her whereabouts to call authorities.
The case may be related to two similar incidents, police said.
One incident occurred on Feb. 5 at 11:25 a.m. in the area of 13000 Broadway, near Broadway Park, which is several blocks from Founders Park. A 17- year-old girl was walking alone when a suspect pulled his car over and asked if she wanted a ride. She said no, but the suspect followed and kept the door open. The girl fled and called police.
Later that day, at around 4:40 p.m., a witness called police reporting a suspect trying to contact two females at 6709 Washington Ave., across the street from Central Park. Two high-school-aged girls were arguing with the suspect who was trying to get them to get into his car.
The suspect fled and the witness did not know the girls’ names.
Whittier police detectives believe all three attempted kidnappings may be connected.
The suspect was driving a red convertible with a tan roof. He was described as Hispanic, 25 to 35 years old, around 6 feet tall and of medium to heavy build.
In Thursday’s incident, the female victim described him as having short black hair and a tattoo of three dots on his left hand.
Whittier school officials have been notified.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call Whittier police detective Ken Woods at 562-567-9286 or the watch commander at 562-567-9241.