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Bell School Parents Warned of Kidnapping Attempt

By Erica Demarest | May 24, 2013 7:01am | Updated on May 24, 2013 9:32am
 Someone tried to abduct a student outside the Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School on Wednesday, authorities said.
Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School in Chicago
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CHICAGO — Police are searching for a man they say tried to abduct a boy from a North Center elementary school playground.

The incident occurred about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School at 3730 N. Oakley Ave., police said.

A man approached the boy saying he would take him home while his "mother was sleeping," said Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman.

The child ran away and found his mother, Estrada said.

Parents taking their kids to school Friday said they still feel safe and were impressed by the school's response.

"It was surprising. It's a reminder of how vigilant you need to be about stuff like that," said Paul Wandless, a 46-year-old parent of a Bell third grader. "It's always a danger. Everyone thinks it's not going to happen at your school."

The incident occurred five minutes after school was dismissed.

"It was a bold move to try on a playground full of parents," said Tracy Boemell, who has three kids at the school.

Parents, who received both emails and paper letters about the incident, said they knew about the alleged incident the day it happened. Police were at the school Friday morning.

Police were unable to provide the age of the child.

The man left the playground walking west on Grace Street, according to a notice shared on Roscoe Village Neighbors via Audubon Elementary.

The suspect is described as a 5-foot-6 black man in his late 40s to early 50s who weighs about 150 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans, a stained black T-shirt, flip-flops and a blue Cubs cap at the time of the incident, police said.

The incident also prompted discussions within families, including between Joy Masada and her second grade daughter.

"I talked to my daughter, who is 8. I said, 'This is what happened. What would you do?' She had all the right answers, so I was reassured," Masada said.

"She feels safe," Masada said about her daughter. "That's what's important. Kids need to feel that they're safe."