Authorities in Iowa say a man driving a car with Nebraska plates is wanted for questioning in a series of seven attempted abductions of girls — as recently as Wednesday in Des Moines. The public is being asked to be on the lookout after the man approached girls and tried to get them into his car. Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesman Jim Saunders says there are links between several of the cases. Saunders says there were attempted enticements in recent days in central and southwest Iowa — in towns including Dallas Center and Panora.
Saunders says in this case, an unidentified male, after passing by once, approached again and offered a 12-year-old girl money if she would slap his hand. The man fled when the girl’s sister approached. Saunders says two other cases happened in Urbandale last Friday and this Tuesday. Saunders says the girls ranged in age from eight to 13.
The suspect is a male with short dark hair, thin build, who was driving a newer model dark colored car. Saunders says in most of the cases, the girls were not touched, but one girl was assaulted near a Little League park before she was able to get away. Saunders says they started comparing notes and decided the cases had enough in common to put out a statewide notice.
Parents are asked to remind their children about the dangers of speaking with strangers and Saunders asks that parents or another adult accompany children when they are playing outside. Saunders says they are also looking for help in identifying the man in these cases and any other possible cases. He says they are also asking anyone who may have an instance that’s similar to this involving their children to contact police. Saunders says you may not have thought anything of the incident at the time, but it may be related to these cases in Iowa. Saunders says it’s also important that parents stay alert and report anything unusual.
If something like this does happen to your children, call 9-1-1 right away. He says you should be aware of where your children are and where they’re going and take the appropriate precautions. Saunders says a composite sketch of the suspect in the Urbandale cases is available on-line at the D-P-S website. Saunders says one of the victims said the car of the suspect had a Nebraska plate with the letters G-A-Z-A on it.