Albemarle Police Continue to Investigate Attempted Abduction - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Police Continue to Investigate Attempted Abduction at Mall

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Police are still on the lookout for a man they say tried to abduct a 2-year-old girl inside Fashion Square Mall Saturday. Her quick-thinking dad thwarted the abduction, and now security at the mall is under intense criticism for letting the accused abductor go free.

Police say a 2-year-old was walking through Fashion Square Mall with her parents Saturday around 2:00 p.m., when a stranger snatched her. Her father's quick thinking led him to chase down the man, who then released the child. But then mall security let the man go, escorting him off the property. It then took almost six hours before the police were contacted – by parents of the child, not mall security.

Albemarle County police are trying to find the person responsible, and they say they are taking this investigation very seriously.

"Right now, that is our main concern, and anyone who is there at the mall, who might have witnessed this, who might have information, we're asking those people to contact us, to call us, and let us know what they saw," said Albemarle County police spokesperson Carter Johnson.

We reached out to the mall directly Sunday and Monday morning, but did not receive a call back.  Monday afternoon, Fashion Square Mall's owner, Simon Property Group, sent us the following statement:

"This incident is now a police matter and, of course, we are fully cooperating with their investigation. Every piece of information that we have in our possession as well as witness reports have been turned over to the police for their follow-up."

Les Morris
Simon Property Group

Simon Malls refused our requests for interviews, and refused to answer our questions about why mall security let the accused abductor go free.

As police wait for leads, the community is asking questions. We have seen comments spike on our website and on our Facebook page. But people aren't talking about the child torn away from her family or the father that rescued her; they are calling out mall security for letting the accused abductor go free.

They are asking questions like, why - after detaining the suspect - did mall security escort him off the property, and not call police? We asked police if any law prevents Fashion Square Mall from detaining individuals in this type of situation. They told us, there would be no criminal liability for holding a suspect for police.

If you have any information that can help police, please call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.

Albemarle County Police Department
Press Release
Sunday, November 23, 2012

The Albemarle County Police Department is investigating an attempted abduction that occurred Saturday, November 24th 2012 between 2-2:30 p.m. at the Fashion Square Mall.

A two year old child was walking with her parents in the mall, near Central Court by Kay Jewelers. A man came behind the child and picked her up from behind. The child's father ran after the man and the suspect released the child. Mall security escorted the man off the property and he left the scene.

The suspect is described as a light skinned black male with glasses. He is approximately 6' 3" tall, weighing 220-235 pounds.

Anyone who observed this incident at the mall or who has information regarding the suspect, please call Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

Carter Johnson
Public Information Officer

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