Two men attempted to kidnap two 8-year-old girls playing in a yard in Mineola on Tuesday, according to Nassau County police.
The girls were in a yard on Maple Place at 4:40 p.m. when two unknown male subjects chased them, police said.
The men asked the girls their names and if they wanted to go for a ride in their vehicle, Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun said at a news conference Wednesday.
Both girls stepped away from the fenced in area, opened the gate and the men followed, Lebrun said.
One of the men pushed one girl to the ground and struck her face, causing minor pain, police said.
The girl screamed, and the men fled – one on foot and and the other in a dark colored car, police said.
The other girl suffered no injuries, police said.
The girls were able to tell their parents, who were home at the time, who called 911, police said.
The police cannot disclose the relationship between the two girls at this time, Lebrun said.
The police believe it is a credible incident based on interviews with detectives, Lebrun said.
“At this point we feel it is a credible threat and looking at it as credible to protect the safety not only of those children but children in the area,” Lebrun said.
He added that there has not been another attempted abduction in the Mineola area recently.
Police describe the men as having dark skin and beards, wearing yellow pants and blue shirts.
Lebrun said police believe it is a possibility that it is some form of uniform.
Police are investigating the incident, and detectives ask anyone with information about the crime to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
“These girls acted extremely appropriately,” Lebrun said.
Parents need to tell children to use any verbal and physical gestures to get away from a potential attacker, Lebrun said.
“They can kick, they can scream, they can even bite if they need to,” Lebrun said. “Their main objective is to get away from that person.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.