The incident was recorded on video.
May 19, 2021, 2:09 am
5 min read
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Officials have arrested a suspect in connection with an alleged kidnapping attempt who was captured on “terrifying” video, authorities said.
The video shows a man walking towards a girl who is sitting next to a backpack on a piece of lawn. The girl tries to run away before he grabs her. When he pulls her back to the car, they both fall to the ground. Then the girl breaks away, grabs her backpack and runs away. The man gets back in the car and drives off.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office released a video of an alleged kidnapping attempt in Pensacola, Florida on May 18, 2021.
MPs have the 30-year-old suspect in custody, Escambia County’s Sheriff Chip Simmons said during a press conference Tuesday evening. His name was not published to avoid undermining the investigation, Simmons said. The suspect is charged with attempted kidnapping and serious assault with a knife.
“We caught the animal,” Simmons told reporters.
MPs worked quickly to find the suspect, the sheriff said, looking for surveillance videos, locating witnesses and going door to door. About 50 MPs searched the area, including on bike units, Simmons said.
“We understand we only had a short time,” said Simmons. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t drop this van, they didn’t leave town.”
The investigation took MPs to the suspect’s home, where they found him wearing clothes that matched those of the man in the video, Simmons said. He also had a similar vehicle to the one officers were looking for, although its silver bumper was freshly painted black, Simmons said.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office sought this white evasive trip in connection with an alleged kidnapping attempt in Pensacola, Florida on May 18, 2021.
The suspect also had “blue slime” on his arms, Simmons said. During the kidnapping attempt, the girl played with a blue slime, the sheriff said.
The suspect has an “extensive” criminal history, according to Simmons, including a previous sexual offense charge with a child. Authorities plan to post the suspect’s name and photo on social media.
“Our concern is that this was not his first attempt,” said the sheriff, who was “shocked” that something like this happened in Escambia County.
About two weeks ago, the suspect allegedly reached out to the 11-year-old girl, who told her parents, teachers and school principals, Simmons said.
“She knew something was wrong,” he said.
After the incident on Tuesday, the girl is safe with his family, the authorities said. Simmons greeted her as a heroine.
“We applaud the efforts and resilience of an 11-year-old girl,” said Simmons. “She did the right thing – she fought and she fought and she fought and she never gave up. And then she went straight to her parents, what she should have done, told her parents what was going on, who in turn have contacted Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. “
“We got the information so quickly that … our suspect tried to paint his car,” he said.
ABC News’ Devin Garbitt contributed to this report.