National search for boy taken by police impostors

October 16, 2008 6:53:21 PM PDT
Two men posing as police officers kidnapped a 6-year-old boy in a drug dispute after entering his family's home and tying up his mother and her boyfriend, police said Thursday. An Amber Alert was expanded nationwide as police searched for Cole Puffinburger, who was taken Wednesday, police said.

There is a definite "drug nexus," Las Vegas Police Capt. Vincent Cannito said at a news conference Thursday. "Significant money and drugs" were involved, he said, but he would not provide more details.

Two men identified themselves as police officers to gain entry to the home several miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas, Cannito said. They demanded money, and the home was ransacked and the couple tied up, he said.

"This child witnessed that," he said. "This child was ripped from the home."

Cannito would not say whether the family had been contacted about paying a ransom.

The boy is described as 3 feet 11 and 48 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes and silver-framed glasses. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, a black shirt, and a black zip-up sweat shirt with white, black and blue stars.

Authorities said that the two men posing as police were Hispanic and that a third man was also believed to be involved.

One suspect is described as having black, shoulder-length, slicked-back hair. The man, in his early 30s, is about 5 feet 7 and 150 pounds and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

Authorities do not have a description of the other men or the getaway car, which delayed the initial posting Wednesday of the statewide alert.

"We're urging people, if they've seen anything, to contact our missing persons detail," Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said.

"We've had a lot of tips," Cassell said. "The frustrating thing is we have nothing new at this point."


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