Police: Suspects tried to abduct 8-year-old girl, said 'Come to my house, I have candy'
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (WJLA) - Two men reportedly tried to lure an eight-year-old girl into their vehicle as she prepared to head to elementary school Tuesday morning.
According to Takoma Park Police, the young girl was standing in front of her home near the corner of Elm and Pine Avenues around 9:05 a.m. She'd missed her school bus and was waiting for her father to drive her to class instead.
With temperatures in the frigid teens, a silver-colored vehicle (possibly a Chrysler Pacifica) stopped in the street. The front male passenger opened his car door and stated, "Come to my house, I have candy." The girl told investigators she pushed the car door closed, ran inside her home and immediately reported the incident to her father. The suspect vehicle was last seen driving down Elm Avenue toward the defunct John Nevins Andrews School. It had damage (perhaps dents) on the rear passenger side door, and possibly a D.C. license plate with the number "3" included.
Although the girl could only make out that the driver was a male, her recollection of the front seat passenger was vivid. She told investigators that he had light-brown skin, hazel eyes, a hoop nose ring, a flower tattoo on his left hand and a pimple or growth close to his left eye. The girl further stated he was wearing a black knit hat, a black hoodie with a white stripe, and faded black sweatpants with holes in them.
“It is such good identifying marks, that someone out there likely knows who this person is," said Cathy Plevy, a spokeswoman for the Takoma Park Police Department. "We ask for people to come forward with information."
Takoma Park Police kept a visible police presence in the young girl's neighborhood throughout the afternoon. At one point, three marked cruisers were parked along the street. Units were also positioned at Piney Branch and Takoma Park Elementary Schools during afternoon dismissal as a precautionary measure.
Other officers went door-to-door in the sleepy neighborhood, which is lined with quaint homes and mature trees, in search for surveillance systems that may have captured the suspect vehicle circling the block. At last check, officers had located cameras at one home, but the residents were not present at the time.
Detectives also planned to browse computer databases in hopes of identifying known criminals with flower tattoos on their left hand. Such physical details are often noted during jail bookings, in part, to later identify them in possible future crimes.
“I was really shocked; I mean I still am! I find it hard to believe anyone could think they’d get away with that here," declared Rani Parker, who raised her 18-year-old daughter along the same block. “I’m also amazed that the little girl was so great, and so well-prepared that she did the right things, because it’s not the kind of thing you ever really prepare for here.”
If you have any information about this attempted child abduction, please call the Takoma Park Police Department at: 301-270-1100.