Berkeley police investigate report of another kidnapping attempt

A 9-year-old girl told police a man who pulled up behind her in a minivan followed her and might have tried to kidnap her while she was walking to school in Berkeley on Monday morning, police said today.

The girl was walking in the 2900 block of Harper Street on her way to Malcolm X Elementary School at about 8 a.m. Monday when a green minivan pulled into a driveway in front of her, police said

As she passed the van, a man got out of the passenger seat and started following her. She felt a push on her backpack and stumbled, so she started running and safely made it to school, police said.

The girl told her mother what happened that evening and they notified the school on Tuesday.

The man who followed her was described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall with a thin build and straight dark hair. The van's driver was described as a black man in his 20s or older with shoulder-length dreadlocks.

Police are trying to determine if the incident might be connected to a series of attempted kidnappings last fall that also involved a green minivan.

A suspect yelled at three girls walking in the area of College Avenue and Webster Street the evening of Oct. 16 and demanded they get in his van. When they ran from him, he ran after them but they got away.

On Sept. 18, a van pulled up to two Willard Middle School students walking in the area of Telegraph Avenue and Stewart Street and told the girls to get in his van.

In both incidents, the suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s with a scruffy face driving a green minivan.

Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and to contact Berkeley police at (510) 981-5900 if they see anything suspicious or have information about the incidents.
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