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Child Abduction Suspect Sought

St. Petersburg police released a video Friday morning of a possible child abduction suspect who tried to grab a child who had just left a convenience store.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the driver of a Jeep Cherokee who allegedly tried to pull a child into his vehicle Monday afternoon.

The suspect, believed to be in his 50s, drove off when the child was able to get away, police said.

According to St. Petersburg police, the incident happened at at around 2:30 p.m. Monday, in the area of Fifth Avenue North and 70th Street North, near the Pinellas Trail. 

A man driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee approached three children, ages 12, 11 and 5, who were coming from a convenience store.

Police said the driver drove up to the children, opened his driver's side door, and then reached out with his left arm appearing to try to grab at one child standing about five feet away, police said. 

According to police, the child managed to move away from the man's grasp and was not touched. The suspect did not say anything to the children and did not pursue the children, who fled to their home.

The man is described as a white male, 50-55 years of age, medium build, with salt and pepper, slicked back hair, bags under his eyes and wrinkled skin. He was last seen wearing eyeglasses and a black T-shirt.

Police said the vehicle involved is a dark blue, possibly 2000 or later model, 4-door, Jeep Grand Cherokee, with dark tinted windows, factory luggage racks on the roof, light colored pin striping on the sides and a longer than usual trailer
hitch projecting from the rear.

Detectives have obtained video surveillance footage (see above) taken from the convenience store, showing the Jeep Grand Cherokee pulling out through the parking lot just after the children had exited the store.

Anyone with information about the suspect or vehicle should contact the St. Petersburg Police Department, at 727-893-7780; callers may also utilize the TIP line at 727-892-5000.

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