35°F
Sponsored by

Saline County Santa Helps Teen During Attempted Kidnapping

Officers were called to the area of South St. at the intersection of Main St. on Monday morning. A person of interest is being questioned.
BENTON, AR -(Update 6:15 p.m.) Benton Police have a person of interest undergoing questioning in an attempted kidnapping case reported just blocks away from the police station on Monday. 

The Benton Police Department (BNPD) says it happened Monday morning around 9:40 in the area of South St. at the intersection of Main Street. 

Inside the Green Eyed Frog Graphicz storefront, you'd be tough pressed to find signs this street is where an attempted kidnapping took place. 

"I've lived here five years I've never heard of anything like this happening. We normally feel very safe downtown," said Teresa Leslie, owner of the store.

According to Benton Police, a 16-year-old girl reported a stranger in a two-tone Chevy tried to lure her into his truck. She was walking just two blocks from the police station in the middle of the day. Police are questioning a person of interest.

"Detectives have been following up ever since yesterday, and we've put this information out to surrounding law enforcement agencies," said Lt. Kevin Russell, Benton Police Public Information Officer.

Leslie doesn't believe this event is a blueprint for what to expect living in Benton.

"I don't think this is the story of Benton," she said. "We are a small town . I think this is random."

How the teen was rescued, might speak to the stitching that makes the fabric of this community. 

"You always hope that there's somebody who wouldn't want to just be a bystander and would intercede," Leslie said. 

According to police, Melvin Taylor -- better known to some in the community as Santa -- came to the rescue after seeing the girl in distress.

"When it comes to a child, somebody hurting a child, everybody needs to get involved. Take 5 minutes out and just be there," Taylor said. 

According to Taylor, he saw the terrified look on the girls face and noticed the truck was taking up two parking spots. It didn't sit right with him. So he ran up, yelled at the suspect, who drove off without the girl in tow.

"I hollered out to her if she was okay, when she shook her head I just stepped in," Taylor said. "I was just in the right place in the right time. I just wanted to help her. If I had taken a left instead of a right, the situation could have gone so much worse."

According to Taylor, plenty of bystanders were arround at the time the attempt was made, he believes people get caught up in their daily lives and don't remember to look around for others who need help. 

"I think people just get used to living their lives and aren't always looking at what's happening to others," Taylor said. 

Taylor is a member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, so stepping in to help kids is nothing new for him. 

"When someone is trying to hurt kids, it really pushes my buttons," he said. "Anyone can help out in these situations." 

Leslie imagines she and her shop girls will be reminded safety needs to always be on all of their minds, regardless of the time or place. 

"Not knowing who this person is who attempted to kidnap this girl, I think all parents are going to be more on alert," she said. 

According to police, this is an opportunity for parents to share safety steps with kids of all ages. Those steps include: 

1. Do not ever get into a vehicle with a stranger, even if they have a story they're telling you about your parents or loved ones saying it's okay. 
2. If someone tries to grab you, shout and run to draw attention to the scene so others know you need help. 
3. If you have access to a phone, call 911 immediately to alert police to the would-be kidnapper. 

 
(Original article)

Police are investigating an attempted kidnapping.

The Benton Police Department (BNPD) says it happened Monday morning around 9:40 in the area of South St. at the intersection of Main Street. 

Police say a 16-year-old girl reported that a man she described as Hispanic got out of a truck and approached her as she walked on the sidewalk. She told police the man opened the passenger door of his vehicle and tried to get her to get in with him but she told him no. The girl told officers the suspect tried to get her inside a second time before driving off alone.  

The girl told officers the suspect was speaking Spanish while motioning for her to get in, but she didn’t know what he said to her.  

A witness in the area also reported seeing the incident. He told police he stopped and started yelling at the suspect before the man drove off.  

The suspect vehicle is described as a single cab Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with the upper portion painted purple or dark blue, and the lower portion painted red.  

Anyone with information related to this case is urged to call the Benton Police Department at (501) 778-1171 or (501) 315-TIPS. Anonymous texts may be sent to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus

Most Recent Stories

News Stream

KARK Twitter Feed