Authorities asked the public for help Monday in locating a “person of interest” in their investigation into the recent kidnapping attempt of two young girls from their home in an unincorporated area near Gardena.
A man entered the Lawndale home in the 15100 block of Cranbrook Avenue and carried the two girls outside during the evening hours of Nov. 24, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated in a bulletin.
The department identified the youngest girl as 3, but her father said she was 2. Her sister was 7 years old.
“My kids confronted him, thinking it was me coming home,” said the father, who did not wish to be identified. “He just bribed them with going to get ice cream.”
The man entered the home through an unlocked door, the father said, and took the children.
The 7-year-old girl managed to escape as the man attempted to put them into a dark-colored SUV, which was parked on the street.
He put down the 3-year-old as the older girl was escaping and both managed to run back to their home screaming, the Sheriff’s Department stated.
The girls’ mother was home at the time of the kidnapping attempt, but didn’t hear anything, the father said.
“It’s kind of surreal. Again, they’re with us now. We want everyone to be proactive and be on alert,” he said.
Detectives are trying to identify a man seen in the area at the time of the crime who has a similar description as the attempted kidnapper.
A surveillance image of the man was also released in hopes the public could help in identifying him.
The suspected kidnapper was described as being about 30 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds.
He was wearing dark blue pants, a gray hooded sweatshirt and a white hat.
A neighbor also saw the same man in his or her backyard the day of the attempted kidnapping, Lt. John Hocking said. When the neighbor confronted the man, he said he thought he was at another residence and left.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department at 323-820-6700.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477).
KTLA’s Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.