Princeton Township Police today released a sketch of the man identified as a suspect in an attempted child abduction in Princeton on Oct. 16.
Last month an 8-year-old boy told police he was dragged into the woods by an man while playing in the backyard of a home on Province Line Road between Cherry Valley Road and Drakes Corner Road.
Police said the child told them he was to escape to safety after the man tripped and lost his grasp on the boy.
The child described the man as white, approximately 5'2"-5'7" tall with a moustache and light-colored eyes, greenish blue eyes, wearing a black leather jacket, black gloves and a black mask.
No witnesses to the incident have come forward and there have been no other reports of this type of incident in town, police said.
Princeton Township police say they have reported the incident to all other police departments in New Jersey and also contacted the New Jersey State Police and the FBI.
The state police were able to provide a sketch artist for a rendering of the Province Line Road suspect.
“The level of concern by parents surrounding this incident has been understandably high, and the department certainly recognizes the need for that level of concern,” Sgt. Michael Cifelli wrote in an email to Patch. “We would encourage parents to be diligent as they normally would be in the care of their children. If parents wish to take extra steps, they could consider the following:
- Encourage children to travel or play in pairs or groups.
- Have a parent accompany a child while at the bus stop in the morning, and meet the child or children at the bus in the afternoon.
- If your child is responsible enough to be trusted with a cell phone, explore the possibility of providing one for them.
Although the Oct. 16 incident bears a similarity to an 11-year-old Lawrence boy’s account to police that someone tried to drag him into the woods less than a month earlier, Princeton Township Police say so far they have been unable to connect the two incidents.
“We have not been able to link our reported incident to any of the other high-profile incidents that have been in the news recently,” Cifelli wrote. “We have been made aware of an similar incident to ours that occurred approximately one month prior in a neighboring jurisdiction, and are investigating any possible ties to that case.
According to Lawrence Police Department Spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry, the boy told police he was grabbed from behind on Sept. 18 by someone who tried to carry him into the woods behind the Lawrence Square Village development off Quaker Bridge Road.
Ubry said the boy told police he was walking along the edge of a stormwater detention basin, tossing rocks into the water. He said his back was to the woods when he was suddenly grabbed from behind.
The boy said his assailant picked him up and started to carry him up the slope of the basin, toward the woods. After about 15 feet, the boy was able to break free and run home, Ubry said of the boy's account. He said the child was unable to describe his attacker except that the person was wearing a black shirt and black sweatpants.
Princeton Township Police encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact them at 609-921-2100.