Sketch shows kidnap suspect

Police: Man ran after girl, then fled

WILTON — Police are seeking two suspects in an attempted child kidnapping that occurred earlier this month.

On Sept. 4 at about 2:30 p.m., a 7-year-old girl was playing in the driveway of her home on Potter Road, with her brother inside and her mother in the backyard, when a maroon, mid-sized older model pickup stopped in front of her driveway, with two men inside, said Police Chief Brent Hautanen in a phone interview Wednesday.

The driver exited the truck and ran after the girl, who fled up the driveway and inside the house before he could reach her. The man returned to his truck, and left the area, travelling in the direction of Abbott Hill Road. The man is described by the child as being white, about 6 feet tall, medium build, with short brown hair and green eyes. It was also reported that the man had the start of a mustache, with about a day’s growth of hair. She was unable to provide a description of the man’s passenger, other than he was also an adult male. On Monday, the child provided a description to a police sketch artist in order who created a composite drawing of the driver, which police have been circulating.

The child’s mother heard the commotion and came inside, and immediately called police. Two officers, including Hautanen, responded to the scene, and one began an immediate search of the area while the other interviewed the child and the family. Then, he too, joined the search of the area, putting out a radio broadcast of the vehicle and the driver’s description.

At 5 p.m. on the same day, at a nearby house on Brown Road, a pickup and driver matching the description of the attempted kidnapping stopped in a yard. A man exited the truck and went inside a barn on the property, before leaving the area. The man was seen by children who were inside the house at the time, watching him from a window, said Hautanen. The incidents may or may not be related.

The attempted abduction led to heightened awareness and multiple reports of suspicious activity of red or maroon pickup trucks in the area of Abbott Hill Road. Some of the incidents have been investigated and found to be false alarms, while others have not included enough information to locate a driver or vehicle.

Since the Sept. 4 abduction attempt, Hautanen said there have been dozens of calls concerning possible sightings or suspicious activity, but no other kidnapping attempts police are aware of. One parent called police concerned about a red pickup truck which stopped briefly in front of her home after her child left the street and went inside, he said. Police were located the vehicle in question, and determined the driver had a legitimate reason to be in the neighborhood and had stopped to take a phone call.

About 70 residents gathered at a Sept. 18 community meeting to discuss the progress of the case and address the possibility of setting up a community watch in the area to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and in particular individuals and vehicles matching the description of the Sept. 4 abduction attempt. The meeting, which took place at Pine Hill Waldorf School, was organized by community members. Hautanen attended to advise the public of the current status of the case, as well as give general safety advice, he said.

One of the most pressing concerns expressed by the public was to learn what steps the Police Department had taken in light of the incident. Police have increased patrols in that area, said Hautanen, particularly at times with high volumes of children outside, including school bus times and after school is done for the day.

Police are asking that anyone with information to call 654-9452 or email tips@wiltonnhpd.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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