It shouldn't come as a surprise given the time of year, but there has been a noticeable up-tick in attempted kidnappings lately - even in broad daylight.
There have been a number in recent months that gained some media attention including a report that someone posed as a CPS employee to take a child, homeless woman that tried to snatch two children, and a man that claimed confusion when he tried to walk away with a woman's child in a grocery store.
Over the course of five days, there have been four reports of attempted kidnappings that have come across my desk. The disconcerting part is that I know this is most likely not a comprehensive list.
On Sunday, October 18 51-year-old Andrew Merriam attempted to kidnap an 11-year old girl in Worcester, Massachusetts. Ultimately the girl was able to break free after kicking him and running into a nearby business for help.
Police were able to locate Merriam later and he was arraigned the following day. They did not, however, locate the other man that the girl stated had been with him at the time of the attempted kidnapping. He is due to be back in court on November 16.
Wednesday, October 21 a mother in Dublin, Ireland reported that two men pulled up in a black Skoda and attempted to snatch her 2-year-old daughter from her hands. "I just grabbed my baby and ran. I kicked my own front door in because I thought they were coming after me," the mother told Dublin Live. Gardaí confirmed that they were investigating "a report of an alleged suspicious approach" but did not disclose any further information and it appears that no arrests have been made.
On Thursday, October 22 a woman was seen on surveillance footage outside of a Los Angeles, California restaurant attempting to take a 1-year-old child from his sister's arms. The woman reportedly claimed the child was hers and demanded that he be turned over, but the sister was able to break free and flee back to the restaurant with her brother. The woman walked away when confronted by a security guard.
Later that same day, the woman attempted to snatch a 5-year-old boy while he was playing in a gated courtyard. Family members saw the attempt and were able to intervene and stop her from taking the child.
Police are asking for the public's assistance in locating the suspect who they describe as a Hispanic woman between 20 and 30-years-old that stands approximately 5-foot-6 and weighs about 135 pounds. She has shot, cropped brown hair and was seen on the security footage wearing a white shirt, light green shorts, and dark slippers.
Thursday evening in Camberwell, England, a 7-year-old was grabbed as she walked with her mother. According to the Evening Standard, the man carried the child for approximately 100 metres before dropping her. The man took off on foot and the girl is said to have not been injured.
Scotland Yard is asking for the public's assistance in obtaining both CCTV footage and statements from anyone that may have seen the events. They describe the suspect as a black man with a stocky build. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeved black shirt over a yellow sleeveless tabard and blue jeans.