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Potential child abducter arrested, GRPD says community's help is how it always should be

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Grand Rapids man attempted to abduct 5 children in as many days

Parents are breathing a sigh of relief after police Tuesday arrested a man that had been trying to abduct multiple children over the past few days.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says there had been five attempts since last Thursday to abduct young boys ages 5-13 by a man who claimed that he needed help finding his lost dog.

The incidents all took place on the city’s northwest in the area of Alpine Avenue and Richmond Street, while two occurred at Richmond Park and one occurred near Harrison Elementary School.

Authorities are praising the street smarts of the youths, and say that in each instance, the boys ran away, and told an adult what had happened, while providing a matching description that helped police send out a press release to media outlets.

Grand Rapids Police Sgt. John Wittowski said, almost immediately, calls began pouring in.

“Anytime you are dealing with children, people come forward in droves,” Wittowski said. “And that says a lot to help we protect our most vulnerable.”

Wittowski is referring to the GRPD’s recent frustrations with getting witnesses to shootings to come forward, as the city has seen a large spike in gun violence since the beginning of the pandemic.

Meanwhile police are not yet releasing the suspect’s name, but did say he lived in the area, had a criminal history and was arrested without incident.

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