Young girl avoids attempted abduction in Cloverdale - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Young girl avoids attempted abduction in Cloverdale

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Montgomery police are working to identify a stranger who tried to grab a little girl in the Cloverdale area.

It happened Saturday afternoon. The Montgomery Public Safety Department couldn't provide an exact location of the incident but in a neighborhood alert sent by Tony Hickman, president of the Old Cloverdale Association, he indicated that it happened near Graham Street and Thorn Place, not far of Norman Bridge Road in Old Cloverdale. 

The child was riding her bike with her mother and got out ahead of her mom by about half a block when she was approached by a man.

Martha Earnhardt, spokeswoman for the Montgomery Public Safety Department, says it was reported to police that the man stopped his gray four-door vehicle and got out and tried to grab the girl

Tony Hickman has been trying to get the word out about the incident to residents. Hickman says he spoke to the mother about what happened. 

"A mother and her 7 or 8 year old daughter were riding their bikes and the child moved ahead about half a block, not very far, and they were going down Graham headed toward Thorn and a man in a small gray car pulled up on the opposite side of the road and got out and tried to grab the child," he said.  "She got away and turned her bike away and headed back toward her mom. When he saw the mother, he turned around and ran back to his car and sped off."

Earnhardt couldn't release the girl's age or name, describing her as an elementary school-aged child. She said it was not clear what exactly the man's intentions were with the child.

News of the attempted abduction has left Cloverdale residents stunned. 

"We have a lot of children and joggers here," said Van DuBose. "What were his intentions? That's absurd. That's unacceptable. We just need to be on the lookout. People like that don't need to be out in the neighborhoods, period. Hopefully we can have our neighbors and passersby keep their eyes out for anything out of the ordinary."

"I find it very disturbing and I can't believe that it happened," added Donna Lignon, who lives across from Cloverdale Bottom Park. "There's a lot of families here and I will be telling everyone about this so that they're aware."

MPD has distributed information about the incident to patrol officers in the area and department wide. They are looking out for anyone who matches the suspect's description. 

Earnhardt says the description of the man is not being released to the public at this point because it is not specific enough.

She stressed that no other incidents like this have been reported anywhere else in the city.

Hickman has been speaking to residents on the phone and by email, as well as posting information to Facebook and nextdoor.com, a private social network where neighbors can talk online.

"It's really jolted a lot parents around the neighborhood because their children are playing in front yards, they're biking and running and riding their scooters ahead of parents who are maybe jogging or walking the dog and they're very concerned about it," he said. "They're very cautious about having their children play in their front yards now or try to get way ahead of them. We don't like that uncomfortable feeling like that, that someone would come in and disrupt us that way."

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