Phoenix police search for suspect in kidnapping attempts

PHOENIX - Phoenix police are beefing up patrols after three attempted kidnappings in three weeks.

Officers are targeting the neighborhood near 31st Avenue and McDowell Road. They’re handing out flyers with suspect descriptions, talking with neighbors and looking for anything suspicious.

Officer Mike Meelhuysen says his entire squad is dedicated to finding the suspects.

Meelhuysen is a father of 16 and has been a patrol officer for 14 years.

“It reaches right to the heart of any parent that there's predators like this in our world,” said Meelhuysen.

The latest attempted kidnapping was last Thursday. 

An 11-year-old girl was riding her bike north on 31st Avenue, just north of McDowell Road. 

Detectives say a white van, with possible taxi decals, pulled in front of her and followed her.

The victim rode to a nearby friend’s home and escaped the suspects.

The driver of the van is described as a Hispanic male in his 40s, heavy set, with a thin mustache, tattoos on his biceps, wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt. The passenger is described as a heavy-set Hispanic male in his 30s, with short dark hair and tattoos on his arms.

Detectives say it's unknown if the most recent incident is directly related to the other two kidnapping attempts.

None of the victims were injured.

“The precinct manager has his heart and soul into solving this crime. Every available resource is being applied to this,” said Meelhuysen.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Phoenix Police Department’s Violent Crime’s Bureau at 602-262-6141.

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