Berkeley police investigating report of attempted kidnapping of three girls

Bay City News
Monday, October 19, 2015

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Police are investigating reports of a suspect attempting to lure three girls into a van in Berkeley Sunday evening, a month after a similar incident occurred near one of the city's schools.

Berkeley police said three girls were walking at 6:10 p.m. Sunday in the area of College Avenue and Webster Street when a man yelled at them, demanding they get into his van.

The man pursued the girls on foot when they ran away, police said, but ended his chase when they started to scream.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s with dark hair and a "scruffy face," police said.

Police said the man was last seen driving south in his van on College Avenue. His vehicle was described as an older model dark green or blue minivan, possibly with tinted windows.

The description of the suspect, his vehicle and the incident itself is similar to an episode from the night of Sept. 18, near Willard Middle School.

In that incident, two Willard Middle School students were walking on Telegraph Avenue, near Stuart Street, when a van pulled up next to them and a suspect told them to get inside, according to police.

Like in Sunday's incident, the students refused and later reported it to authorities.

Police said Sunday's victims exercised excellent personal safety habits.

Officers will work with the Berkeley Unified School District and other schools to recommend personal safety measures and share information about the incidents, according to the Police Department.

Berkeley police will also be providing extra patrols around the city's schools.

Police are asking for the public's assistance in finding the suspect. Any sighting of the suspect or his vehicle should be reported to (510) 981-5900, police said.