Man tries to kidnap boy, girl from playground in Oxford Circle, police say

OXFORD CIRCLE - October 10, 2013

The incidents happened 10 minutes apart on Wednesday near the Max Myers Recreation Facility in the 1600 block of Hellerman Street, as children reported for school at the Gilbert Spruance Little School House located across the street.

Police say it was 7:50 a.m. when the man approached a 12-year-old girl. According to police, he told the girl he had something for her, then pushed her. Three men saw what was happening and chased the suspect toward Magee Street.

A short time later the man returned to the playground, this time approaching a 10-year-old boy. The suspect asked the boy if he needed help before grabbing the boy's hand. The boy then yelled for his mother, who was nearby.

The neighborhood is now nervous and tense following the attempted abductions. School parents have been notified and police have beefed up patrols in the area.

Parent Marisol Lavayen explains her reaction to the news, saying, "Usually they walk to school. But because of what happened I actually brought them into the school, directly in the school."

"I just started letting them walk home by themselves. Now I'm back to picking them up," explained Molly Colon.

Investigators are looking for an African-American man, thin build, about 5'9" tall, somewhere between his mid-30's to 50 years old, with salt-and-pepper hair and a mustache. He was last seen wearing a blue and white checkerboard print button shirt, tan pants and light colored shoes.

Some parents say there were similar instances in this section of Oxford Circle last year.

Parent Ashley Lewis says, "We stand out here every day, like that's just how it's going to be from now on. I think that's disgusting how someone could just do that."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or through

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