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KCK police think abduction attempts are related

By KATHLEEN POINTER
The Kansas City Star

After three Kansas girls reported separate kidnapping attempts on Thursday, one local police department is treating the incidents as related.

“We have reason to believe it’s the same suspect,” said Stephen Smith, spokesman for police in Kansas City, Kan., where two of the incidents occurred.

The other was in Shawnee.

The episodes have some parents worried.

Rachel Erndorff of Lenexa said one of her sons attends Trailridge Middle School, where the Shawnee victim goes to school.

Afer learning of the incident Thursday night, she got the boy out of bed to talk to him.

“I was shocked, especially since it hit close to home.”

Police in both areas bumped up patrol coverage Friday.

“He’s obviously mobile,” Smith said. “I would think (agencies) anywhere in the metro need to keep an eye out.”

Kansas City, Kan., police described the suspect as a Hispanic man about 5 feet 4 inches tall with a thin build. He had a mustache and possibly some hair on his chin.

The incidents, as described by police:

• About 4 p.m. in Shawnee, a 13-year-old girl reported that a man pulled up in the 5500 block of Monrovia Street and asked for directions.

When she said she couldn’t help him, he told her to get into his car, threatened her and drove into the grass in an attempt to block her. Police found car tracks in the grass.

The girl ran home, where her mother was at the door. The mother saw the suspect’s vehicle, a black 1990s Nissan Pathfinder with a modified exhaust system.

• In Kansas City, Kan., a 17-year-old girl reported that a man approached her about 5 p.m. near 22nd Street and Victoria Drive. He was on foot, but a dirty, black SUV was seen.

• An 11-year-old girl reported that two men, on foot, tried to abduct her about 5:40 p.m. in the 800 block of Riverview Avenue in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas City, Kan., school officials increased security around their buildings Friday and reminded teachers, students and parents of proper safety procedures.

Shawnee Mission provided all principals with a letter and voice mail that could be sent to parents. Spokeswoman Leigh Anne Neal said the district made sure parents were notified at 10 schools close to the abduction attempt.

“You never know, these things can be in one area and then move across town.”

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