ALTOONA, Iowa — Altoona Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly tried to grab a 13-year-old boy on a trail near Village Park in Altoona Thursday night.
On their Facebook page, the Altoona Police Department said a group of teenagers were on the trail between 8 and 9 p-m, when an unknown person allegedly grabbed a 13-year-old boy.
The boy was not injured and was able to get away and run to a safe place with his friends.
A short time later, parents arrived on scene and took their children safely home.
Police said there is now extra officer presence in that area but encourage parents to know where their kids are at all times this summer.
“A lot of kids use the back sidewalks from the apartments and the houses to come up to the park to play, so that’s the scary part,” Altoona resident Pam Sorensen said. “Because of all the fences and people aren’t looking out their back windows so they don’t see when something’s happening.”
Police recommend using cell phones to follow your child’s location or have them frequently check in with you.
But they also want to remind kids to look up from their phones, and people who live nearby agree.
“I think you need to be aware of your surroundings, I mean we all spend a lot of time on our devices and so I think you just need to be aware of your surroundings, look around, make sure you are in a safe spot and you’re not staying out too late and you’re doing what your parents tell you,” Altoona resident Erin Swalwell said.
Police are still looking for this individual. If you have personal security cameras near area of 12th Ave NW and 14th Ave NW on the trail, contact the Altoona Police Department.