Chandler police step up patrols after 4th attempted abduction near school


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:00 AM

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Police in Chandler are warning parents to be extra vigilant after four attempted abductions in the area of Ray and Alma School roads near Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary School in the past two months.

Investigators have not determined if the incidents are related, but police are telling parents to talk to their kids about "Stranger Danger."

" We encourage parents to talk to their children about preventative measures to ensure their safety from child predators," sid Detective Seth Tyler in a news release.

Police also are saying parents should not let their kids walk to or from school alone.

The most recent incident happened last Wednesday when a man approached a 9-year-old boy who was walking home from school, chasing him down an alley. The man stopped when a car approached on Sunset Drive. The boy was not hurt. Investigators are working with him on a composite sketch.

Last week's encounter is the fourth of its kind since school started.

Last month Chandler police released a sketch of a suspect who was wanted in connection a similar incident in the same area. In that instance, the suspect approached a 10-year-old boy on Hartford Street.

The first incident was reported on Aug. 30. A 13-year-old girl said she was walking when a man got out of a brown sedan with tinted windows and grabbed her by her hair, trying to drag her with him. She escaped and ran home. While that teen is not a student at Hartford, the principal sent s letter home to parents about the incident.

Police released a composite sketch in that case, but it's different from the one released last month.

In three of the four incidents, the child who was approached was walking alone. In the remaining case, a 14-year-old boy was walking with his 11-year-old sister.

Each time, the victims described the suspect as a Hispanic man.

While detectives are still trying to determine if the cases are connected, the Chandler Police Department has stepped up patrols in the neighborhood surrounding Hartford Elementary.

Anyone with any information regarding these types of incidents is asked to contact the Chandler Police Department at 480-782-4130.