An attempted child abduction Saturday has one Parkersburg neighborhood on guard and a little girl very shaken up.
The Tygart Street neighborhood in Parkersburg is a relatively quiet and peaceful place to live, but Saturday neighbors got quite a shock when they learned of an attempted child abduction.
"I've lived here 15 years and this is the first time I've heard of anything like this happening," says Ed Morris, a neighbor and witness to the alleged crime.
According to the Parkersburg police, around 1:00 p.m. a blue truck pulled up to an 11-year-old girl who was outside playing with friends. The man motioned for the girl to get into the truck while making some obscene gestures.
"I noticed he was talking to the little girl, but I didn't know really what was going on till she came up the street sort of upset and everything," says Morris.
The young girl, thankfully, released this was a dangerous situation and ran home to tell her family, a move police say may have saved her life.
"She was actually able to give us a good description. She described him as a white male with a goatee; he had a tattoo of a snake on his left arm," says Sgt. Blaine Ritchie with Parkersburg PD.
An investigation is underway to find the suspect and determine his possible intentions, but police say the entire situation should be a wake-up call to those with children.
"It's very important you communicate with your child. Teach them things such as if someone approaches you, immediately do what this child did, flee the area," says Sgt. Ritchie.
"I've got a 14-year-old girl. Stuff like that just bothers me something fierce," says Morris. "The neighborhood is going to have to watch closer now I guess. We sort of let our guards down and now this happened.”
Police say another helpful tip to keep your children safe is teaching them to yell and make a scene if someone grabs them. Also, if they are on a bike, wrapping the legs around it will make it harder for the abductor.
Ploys to watch out for include asking a child to help them find a lost pet or asking for directions.