Police said they are seeking video from the neighborhood where two men attempted to abduct a pair of 8-year-old girls playing in a backyard Tuesday in Mineola.
One of the victims was punched in the face but she screamed and kicked one of the men, and the would-be abductors fled, Nassau County police said.
“We are treating this like a very, very credible threat,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said in a news conference Wednesday in Mineola.
In addition to seeking surveillance video of the incident, Nassau police detectives are attempting to find witnesses, LeBrun said.
He said there had been no similar abduction attempts reported in Mineola, but the search was being expanded to see whether there had been incidents in other jurisdictions.
The girls were playing in the backyard of a home on Maple Place about 4:40 p.m. when the men appeared, and asked the girls their names and if they wanted to take a ride in their car, which is described as a dark-colored sedan, LeBrun said.
The children stepped away from the fence and ran through the backyard but were confronted by the two men, who opened the gate and ran after the girls, LeBrun said.
A suspect pushed one of the girls to the ground and punched her twice in the face, causing minor pain, police said. She screamed and the men fled, police said. The other girl was able to run away into the home through the back door and was not injured.
A parent of one the girls, who was home at the time of the incident, called police.
“These girls acted extremely appropriately,” LeBrun said. “They backed away from the fence when they were confronted. They ran and they screamed.”
The father of one of the girls told News 12 Long Island the girls are cousins and they were jumping rope in the backyard when the two men confronted them. He did not want to be identified.
One of the men fled on foot and the other drove away in a dark-colored vehicle, police said.
The suspects were described as between 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 6 feet tall with beards and they were last seen wearing yellow pants and blue shirts, police said. LeBrun said it’s possible the men were in uniforms of some type.
Authorities encourage parents to advise their children how to prepare for a potential abduction.
“They can kick. They can scream. They can even bite if they need to,” LeBrun said. “Their main objective is to get away from this person.”
Detectives urged anyone with information on the case to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.
With Michael O’Keeffe