By Joe Piasecki
Santa Monica police are urging women to take extra safety precautions following two attempted kidnappings over the past three days that targeted women walking alone on city sidewalks.
The victims of both attacks were able to free themselves from their attacker, who police suspect may have been the same man.
The first kidnapping attempt occurred at about 8 p.m. Wednesday on Ocean Avenue near Colorado Avenue, according to a statement by Santa Monica police spokesman Sgt. Jay Moroso. The victim was walking on the sidewalk when a man grabbed her and ordered her into his car, but she was able to break free after her attacker was startled by a person leaving a nearby apartment building.
The second kidnapping attempt occurred at roughly 10:30 a.m. Friday, when a woman walking southbound on 14th Street near Olympic Boulevard “heard footsteps behind her and felt the suspect grab her waist with one hand and cover her mouth with his other hand,” according to the statement. The man released the woman and fled on foot after she screamed.
Police described the suspect in the Wednesday attack as a black man in his 30s, about 6’2” and 200 to 230 pounds, with short, shaved hair and a beard. He was driving a late-model black Volkswagen four-door hatchback with tinted windows.
The suspect in Friday’s attack is described as a black man in his 20s, about 5’ 10” with a thin build, and also with short, shaved hair. The second victim did not see a vehicle.
Police are not certain but believe the same man likely committed both crimes.
“The fact that the suspect(s) chose to commit one crime in daylight and both on well-travelled streets indicates that they are bold and they are dangerous,” Moroso’s statement reads. “Women should remain alert when walking by themselves and, if possible, travel with a companion.”
Police are asking residents to stay vigilant and immediately report any suspicious behavior by calling (310) 458-8491 or 911 if the situation is an emergency.
Anyone with information about the kidnapping attempts is also asked to call (310) 458-8491 or report tips anonymously through the Crime Stoppers hotline by calling (800) 222-8477.