Man grabs middle school student at East Anchorage bus stop
Every parent's nightmare is a stranger attempting to take their child. For one student in Anchorage early Friday morning, that scenario became a reality.
Anchorage police issued a statement shortly after 10 a.m., stating that a man had attempted to grab a middle school-aged girl who was waiting for her school bus to pick her up for school.
According to the community alert, an unidentified man approached the Clark Middle School bus stop near 16th Avenue and Klevin Street. Police say he grabbed the young student by the arm, and "tried to force the student into his vehicle." It is not clear if he drove up nearby and tried to pull her in, or if he got out of the car.
MJ Thim, spokesperson with the Anchorage Police Department, said that the man initially offered the victim a ride. But when she refused, he then grabbed onto her. Thim said the victim kicked the man repeatedly, and she was able to escape. She ran from the bus stop to the school, which was almost two miles away, to call for help.
Thim said the victim was not sure in which direction the man was heading after she escaped, as she was fleeing from the scene and did not look back. Police are searching the surrounding area.
The man has been described as a white, blond-haired man, between the ages of 33 to 37 years old. He was allegedly wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and grey and white colored tennis shoes. A suspect vehicle was identified as a maroon Jeep, possibly a Wrangler.
Thim said that the victim, though shaken by the ordeal, was able to provide other details she remembered from the encounter.
"He also has no top teeth and she saw that he had rashes on his arm, so there are some distinct traits," Thim said. While it is not known if the girl was alone at the bus stop, Thim said that several other witnesses have been contacted.
Police have an active search ongoing for the suspect and the maroon Jeep. They ask for anyone with information, or possible video surveillance, to contact them immediately.
APD says this is also an important reminder for parents to talk to their children about stranger danger. In this case, Thim confirms that the male suspect and the juvenile victim did
know each other. And APD says the victim did everything right – she kicked and screamed and ran away. Parents should talk to their children about what to do if a stranger approaches and always have a family plan in case of an emergency.