Police: Father saves son from abduction attempt

July 2, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It was around 11 a.m. Saturday when police say a man in his mid-40s approached a 2-year-old boy near the water, yards away from his mom and dad.

"The parents looked, father got up -- like any father would or any parent -- went after the man that had his child and confronted him and had a fight to get his child back out of his hands," said Chicago Police Cmdr. Leo Schmitz at a news conference Saturday night.

After the offender fled the scene, the boy's father flagged down some bicycle officers who then radioed the suspect's description to other police. Seconds later, the man was arrested near a turnaround at North Avenue, about 150 yards from where the alleged kidnapping attempt occurred.

"The parents did a good job keeping an eye on their child and making sure if somebody goes up to your child, you get a hold of us. We'll take care of that," Schmitz said.

On Saturday night at North Avenue Beach, parents like Carlos Ortiz are keeping even closer tabs on their kids.

"If something like that happens, I'll go crazy, too. Father's worst nightmare, right there," Ortiz said.

Police say they've beefed up patrols along the lakefront this busy holiday weekend. This alleged abduction occurred after a series of high-profile robberies and thefts on the CTA and downtown. Some at North Avenue say they've noticed the increased presence.

"More and more police out here, so there's going to be less of that happening," said parent Conell Grays.

But police say there's only so much they can do, and on Saturday night, they're urging parents and all beach goers to be alert.

"If you have a child, you have to make sure your child is next to you at all times because you really don't know who is out here. You really don't know what their intentions are, their motives," said parent DeShone Jackson.

"Don't be afraid to get a hold of the police immediately. If he didn't do it that quickly, this guy might have got away and what if he got somebody else at another time. So it was excellent work by all the officers involved," Schmitz said.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is behind bars, awaiting charges Saturday night. Police did not say whether or not he had tried this before.

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