Every parent’s worst nightmare became a reality last week when two men tried to abduct two 8-year-old girls who were playing in their own backyard.
The incident happened in a fenced- in backyard on Maple Place in Mineola at around 4:40 p.m. At a press conference held at Nassau County Police Headquarters last Wednesday, Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun told reporters that while the girls were playing in their yard, they were confronted by two men. The men asked the girls what their names were and if they wanted to go for a ride in their vehicle.
“Both girls stepped away from the fenced-in area and ran through the backyard. At this point, both of the men opened the gate and ran after the girls,” said Lebrun.
One of the girls was pushed down to the ground by one of the men, who struck her two times in the face causing minor injuries. The girl was able to fight one of the men off by screaming and kicking at him. The other girl was able to run towards the back door of the house and told her mother about the attack, who called 911. One of the men fled the scene in a dark-colored Sedan while the other man ran away on foot.
Police are currently looking for the attempted kidnappers who are described to be approximately 5’10 to 6’ tall, dark skinned. Both had beards and wearing yellow pants and blue T-shirts.
“These girls acted extremely appropriately,” said Lebrun. “What you need to do if you’re a parent, you need to tell your child to use any type of verbal gestures—even if they have to fight off this individual—to get away. They can kick, they can scream, they can even bite if they need to.”
When asked if police are treating this case with a healthy dose of skepticism, Lebrun responded that police believe that this is a true and creditable threat and have increased police patrols around Mineola and the surrounding areas.
Police are intensively canvasing the area looking for these two men.
“If there is video [surveillance], we will take that video and check that out,” said Lebrun.
Local school districts are also warning parents to be on the lookout in case these two men return to the area for another kidnapping attempt. In a letter sent out to parents, Dr. Michael Nagler, the superintendent of the Mineola School District, urged parents to review safety rules with their children and to remind them to avoid circumstances that increase vulnerability.
“We will be in constant contact with the Nassau Police Department during the course of the investigation and as always will take their guidance on any additional safety procedures,” said Nagler.
Superintendent of the East Williston School District, Elaine Kanas, told parents in a letter that they might see an increase of police activity around area schools with police conducting extra patrols.
The public, who Lebrun said is the police department’s greatest ambassador, needs to call police if they know anything about this incident at 1-800-244-8477. All callers will remain anonymous.
“If the public sees anything suspicious, sees this dark colored auto, sees anybody that should not be in their area, they’re urged to call the police immediately,” said Lebrun.