Man tries to kidnap child from Oak Park playground, police say

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Police in west suburban Oak Park are asking parents and caretakers to be on the lookout for a man who tried to abduct a child from Fox Park. (WLS)

Police were stationed Tuesday at Fox Park in west suburban Oak Park, where a man tried to abduct a child a day earlier.

"I can't speak intelligently about his motives," said Cmdr. LaDon Reynolds. "But what I can tell you as a parent, it's very inappropriate and disconcerting."

Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, police said a man tried to reach over the fence and grab the child, but a caretaker and other adults stopped him. The man was outside the fence, calling to children playing at the park. When they came over, he got down on one knee, reached through the fence and high-fived one of the kids. Then, he reached over. The children were not hurt.

"It's scary," said Tom Shakeshaft, who lives nearby. "You don't like to think that kind of thing is going to happen in your neighborhood. You don't like to think that that kind of thing happens anywhere."

The park is located at 624 South Oak Park Avenue.

Police are working on a sketch and trying to determine if a nearby surveillance camera captured an image of the man.

Patrick O'Meara said the popular park has always felt safe. He said he tries to make sure his child is always accompanied by an adult.

"I have some sense of security. I like to be aware and that's why he stays with me or his grandparents," O'Meara said.

Anthony Maria Noel, a father who works in the neighborhood, said he was horrified when he heard word of the abduction attempt.

"I'm surprised. Number one, it's a fairly safe neighborhood in this area. To hear something like that, citizens need to get involved. You can't leave it just to the police. Everyone has to have a vigilant eye," Noel said.

Police are looking for a man in his late 20s or early 30s, between 5 ft. 10 in. and 5 ft. 11 in. tall. He has a stocky build, a mustache and bushy sideburns. He was wearing a black hat, black pants, a black long-sleeve shirt and black fingerless gloves. He also had a black jacket or sweater tied around his waist.

Witnesses told police the man was speaking to himself in a foreign language before calling to the children in English.
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attempted abductionplaygroundparkOak Park
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