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Cops Seek Man Who Tried to Kidnap Girl on Upper West Side

By  Emily Frost and Jeanmarie Evelly | August 9, 2012 4:09pm | Updated on August 10, 2012 8:28pm

A police sketch of a man suspected of attempting to kidnap a child on the Upper West Side.
A police sketch of a man suspected of attempting to kidnap a child on the Upper West Side.
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MANHATTAN — Police are hunting for a man who tried to snatch a young girl off the streets of the Upper West Side last month. 

The suspect, who is 40- to 50-years-old and around 170 pounds, allegedly tried to grab the 11-year-old victim by the arm on West 61st Street and Amsterdam Avenue at 4:45 p.m. on July 31. 

When the girl tried to pull away from the man, he pulled her back toward him. But she was eventually able to break away and the man fled, police said.

The suspect has a mustache, a bump on his left eye and was wearing a blue T-shirt and blue pants at the time of the attempted kidnapping. 

Neighborhood residents said the girl was on her way home from a day camp across the street from NYCHA's Amsterdam Houses when the incident occurred.

"I didn't see it, but I heard that he walked up to her when she was walking into the building and he tried to grab her," said one neighbor, Donna, 60, who declined to give her last name, but said she's lived in the Amsterdam Houses for 40 years. "She had sense enough to fight him off and run."

Some neighbors said Friday they didn't hear about the disturbing incident until police released a sketch of the suspect on Thursday — more than a week after the attempting kidnapping.

There were no fliers or notifications from police posted in the neighborhood, they said.

"They should put sketches out there," said longtime tenant Jeanette Mateo. The community is a close-knit one, she and other neighbors said, where residents look out for each another.

"No one would get away with a kid around here," Mateo said. "He would've come out [of] here in critical condition."

"I've never seen this guy. I believe he's probably not from around here," said 64-year-old Nancy Jaime, who's lived in the building for 44 years. "He's probably some sicko who came up here."

Other residents said the kidnapping attempt had put them on edge.

"Usually we let our kids out even when it rains, but we're not going to do that right now," said 34-year-old mom Elizabeth Merced.

She and other residents posted information about the attempted abduction on Facebook, she said, so other parents in the neighborhood would know to be on the lookout. "We all have our eyes open right now," Merced said. "We're keeping our daughters and sons close by."

Police ask that anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477), visit its website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.