Parents are on alert and police have extra cars patrolling the neighborhood around Cable Avenue and Pine Street after an 11-year-old boy walking home from nearby Beachwood Intermediate School Thursday afternoon escaped from a man who got out of his car and tried to abduct him.
"The gentleman either touched his arm or grabbed his arm," said Beachwood Police Lieutenant Robert Tapp. "At that time the boy did the right thing--just ran home and was able to call 911."
Police say the seventh grader worked with a sketch artist to develop a likeness of the would-be kidnapper. He's a bald man about 6 feet tall wearing a black leather jacket and white T-shirt. He was also driving a newer model 4-door black Audi with a New Jersey license plate.
The incident has parents reminding their children about stranger danger.
"I told her exactly what to do if somebody tries to grab you," said Heather Applegate. "You got to fight. If a car is following you, walk the other way, go to a neighbor's house. Ask for help and fight and kick your way out."
"Scary for me because my kids play out in this yard all the time," said Kim Testa. She lives just a few yards from where it happened. "It's hard to explain to a six-year-old," she said. "But he got it, and then he said he was a little bit nervous about going to school."
Police are asking anyone who may recognize the man to contact them immediately.
"I think people will be a little bit on edge until they find this guy," said Matt Golizio. "I know I certainly will be. And I know I'll be making sure I keep an extra eye out, an extra caution out for my neighbors and my kids."
Police are getting what they describe as an "abundance" of calls and are sifting through the tips now, hoping to come up with information that will lead them to the suspect.
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect is asked to call Beachwood Police Sgt. Glen DeMarco at 732-286-6000, ext. 191.