PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Police are searching for a suspect who attempted to kidnap a boy in the Pearl District Tuesday, and may have followed other parents in the area, officials said.
Police responded to the attempted kidnapping call at 3:18 p.m. after a 6-year-old boy and his father were walking near The Fields Park at 1099 NW Overton Street when the suspect tried to grab him. The father fought off the suspect who then ran away.
The suspect was described as a Hispanic man between 20-30 years old, around 5-feet-1 to 5-3 tall, and heavyset with dark hair. At the time of the attempted kidnapping, the suspect was wearing a black hoodie, white wash jeans, a grey beanie with a ball on top, and black and white shoes.
Officials said the suspect is a stranger and this appears to be random.
Police are now looking to a report that someone matching his description was closely following a mom pushing her baby in a stroller a half hour before the attempted kidnapping.
The woman was walking on Northwest Northrup Street between Northwest 9th Avenue and Northwest 10th Avenue, PPB said.
Authorities are asking for anyone with surveillance video from 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. in the area to reach out to them so they can hopefully get a clearer picture of the suspect.
Police said the possibility the man could have been stalking other parents raises concern and adds urgency for them to find the suspect.
“Because we now have this guy potentially following a mom pushing a baby stroller, and then like 30 minutes later grabbing a 6 year old boy, we think he may have been wandering the pearl district neighborhood, looking for a potential victim,” Kevin Allen of PPB explained.
Police are trying to determine if that is the same suspect.
“If it is the same suspect and he was following another parent and baby it raises our concern level even higher, that he has some bad intent when it comes it kids, so it adds to the urgency here,” Allen said.
Police said while random kidnappings are rare, this is a warning for parents to be aware of the situations around them and to talk to their kids.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help identifying the suspect and are seeking additional witnesses or photos of the incident.
Information on this case can be sent to Detective Michael Schmerber at Michael.Schmerber@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-0991.