Police stress safety after man tries to abduct girl in Carbondal - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Police stress safety after man tries to abduct girl in Carbondale

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CARBONDALE -- Police are on the hunt for a man they say tried to abduct a teenage girl in Carbondale Wednesday morning.

Parents in Carbondale grew concerned after learning about the man’s attempt to abduct the girl so close to home, including Colette Peterson whose twins go to Carbondale Middle School.

“I ended up picking up my 8th graders from school so we could have the life-long conversation about stranger-danger," Peterson said, adding she believes parents should have those conversations with their children as early as when they're in grade school.

Carbondale police responded to a call regarding an attempted abduction around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The victim, who's a teenage girl, said a man near the Fields Apartment Complex called out to her. When she did not respond, she said the man ran across the street and grabbed her by the waist.

“She fought him off, got away from him," said Carbondale Police Sergeant Amber Ronketto.

While police call it a concerning situation, officials credit the victim for responding in a way that helped save her. They encourage others to do the same if they're ever in that position. 

"She did a great job, she started yelling to try and draw people's attention to her, she was yelling "help me, help me" as she was fighting him off, so she did an excellent job and she did exactly what she should have done,” Ronketto said.

When you’re walking outside, police say it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

“Just make sure that the kids are very vigilant, and they’re watching their surroundings and seeing if there are any unusual people,” Ronketto said.

That’s a message Peterson stressed too.

“But not only be vigilant for our children, but our community, our community of children and keep a watchful eye," Peterson said. "If something doesn’t look right, feel right, sound right, call the police, the worst thing that could happen is it was a false alarm."

Police are still searching for that man, who's described as a white male in his mid-40's with short blond hair and green eyes. The victim told police he has a scruffy blond beard and speaks with a southern accent.

Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to contact Carbondale Police.

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