KOREATOWN (CBSLA.com) — Police are on the hunt for a man they say tried to kidnap two children from an apartment complex just south of Koreatown on Monday night.
The attempted abduction, which occurred around 7 p.m. in the 1700 block of South Westmoreland Boulevard, was captured on surveillance video, and detectives believe the suspect had planned a kidnapping.
The suspect was seen peeking into other properties moments before attempting to grab the two toddlers, police said.
“It’s extremely concerning to us, because we have no idea what his intentions were, but we know they were not good,” LAPD Capt. Vito Palazzolo said.
LAPD investigators released a composite sketch of what they believe the suspect looks like. Police say the suspect scaled a fence and grabbed two boys, aged 2 and 3, who were playing with several other children.
The 2-year-old’s older sister, along with the other children, grabbed onto the toddlers and worked to pull them away from the suspect. The girl then called out for her grandmother.
“When the grandma came out, or about the same time the grandma came out, the suspect fled,” Palazzolo said. “(He) dropped the kids and fled.”
Neighbors are shocked and are likewise on the lookout.
“It really brings up a red flag to me as a parent, and it’s scary and concerning,” neighbor Jose Juarez said. “It’s scary and concerning, not just for my kids but for the kids here, because we all know each other.”
The suspect is described as a 25-year-old Hispanic man, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He was wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, but his most distinctive feature was that he was wearing braces with blue rubber bands.
Investigators are checking for known criminals in the area.
“Some sexual offenders also are required to wear ankle braces, so we’re hitting all those investigative leads,” Palazzolo said.