Man attempts to abduct 11-year-old girl in Bridgman
BRIDGMAN, Mich. – Parents, schools and police are all on high alert in Bridgman after reports of a man trying to abduct an 11-year-old girl.
It happened around 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon. Police say the girl was leaving Toft Park and walking towards downtown when it happened.
“It’s a very rare occurrence, very random,” said Bridgman Police Chief Daniel Unruh. “Especially here in the city of Bridgman.”
He says to his knowledge, there hasn’t been a report of an attempted abduction in the area for several years. Still, this one occurrence has some parents on edge.
“I’m feeling kind of shocked and kind of scared,” said Alisha Wismer, who lives near the park. “That could have been my kid or one of my friend’s kids.”
Police say the girl was walking down the street when she was asked by a man in a black car if she needed a ride. When she refused the offer, the man allegedly attempted to grab her.
“He exited his car with a ski-mask on and tried to grab her by one arm,” said Unruh. “She fought him off and broke the grasp and continued running down the street.”
That’s when she met up with her mother, who called the police.
The girl is a student in the Bridgman school district, and the situation prompted the superintendent of Bridgman Public Schools to send out an alert to all parents in the district.
“We as a school district and I as the leader of the school district feel that it’s good to get the information out to parents,” said Superintendent Shane Peters. “The more people that we can have out and about watching and looking will continue to keep our kids safe.”
He also added a few safety tips for parents to discuss with their children. Those include:
- Walking in groups
- Walking on well-lit streets
- Taking the same route to and from school every day
- Staying aware an alert to surroundings
- Reporting any suspicious behavior
Peters shared his stranger danger alert letter to other school districts in the county.
Unruh is asking parents to discuss those safety tips with their kids, but to also stay calm.
“I want to remind everyone that this is a safe community,” he said.
As police continue the investigation, they are encouraging anyone who might have seen the incident or the car to give them a call.
“We’re hoping that anyone that was in the immediate are that may have seen a young girl, 11 years old, running, I know it’s going to be kind of hard because it was after school, but if they saw somebody that they didn’t think that much about yesterday, now it’s starting to click,” said Unruh.
He says the car is black, possibly a Volkswagen, with tinted windows and a Florida license plate.
The suspect is described as a white male around 40 years old. Police say he is described as “slim” and is approximately 5’9”.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Bridgman police at 269-465-3880.