Crime & Justice

Moms stop 2 attempted kidnappings in Glendale

Images of a car that was believed to be used in two attempted kidnappings in Glendale on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, as well as a photo of a similar vehicle.
Images of a car that was believed to be used in two attempted kidnappings in Glendale on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, as well as a photo of a similar vehicle.
Glendale Police Department

Glendale police are investigating a pair of attempted kidnappings that occurred about 20 minutes apart and less than a mile from each other Wednesday evening. Mothers warded off the assailant in both instances, according to authorities. The kidnapper or kidnappers told the children something along the lines of saying they were cute as they approached, Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William tells KPCC.

In the first instance, a mother was walking with her baby in a stroller at 5:11 p.m. at the intersection of Chevy Chase Drive and Adams Street when a short-haired woman in “heavy winter-style clothing” approached the stroller, snatched the baby from it, and then tried to get away, according to police. Police released surveillance footage of the incident on Thursday.

"If you watch the surveillance footage, you'll see that he kind of abruptly stops in the middle of traffic, leaves the door open, and approaches the child. That's very alarming, and indicative of a child abduction," William says.

The mother struggled with and was able to hold on to her baby, and the suspect fled after entering the driver’s side of a car, which William says appears to be a silver 2014-2016 Nissan Versa Note, a four-door hatchback. There were no other identifying marks on the vehicle, such as damage, tinted windows or stickers. Police released a possible partial license plate number of "7HY" in a release.

The second kidnapping attempt happened near John Marshall Elementary School at 5:35 p.m., when an 8-year-old child called 9-1-1 and told the operator that someone “tried to steal his 2-year-old brother,” according to police. The child’s mom was close enough to halt the kidnapping, which then led to the suspect leaving in a small, 4-door silver sedan, police said.

"The suspect actually was able to pick up the child off the ground before the mother interrupted the kidnap," William says.

In this instance, the suspect was described by the 8-year-old caller as a man dressed as a woman, and the child’s mom described the possible kidnapper as a man in his late 40s or 50s with salt-and-pepper hair, a 2-day-old beard and wearing a gray shirt with a multi-colored design on the front, according to police.

The surveillance footage didn't allow police to clearly identify the gender of the kidnapper, William says.

"It still remains a mystery for us. We do not have a clear answer," William says.

It did appear that there was just one person, William says, but added that it wasn't absolutely clear.

William says that any time there's an act like this toward a child, it's "very alarming."

"We take something like this very seriously. We have invested a lot of time into this investigation, a lot of resources," William says.

Investigators believe the suspect (or suspects) are related to both incidents, according to a statement from Glendale police, who are also working with Glendale Unified School District officials to keep parents informed. William says that they're also working with other local agencies to see if they've experienced anything similar to these attempted kidnappings.

This story has been updated.