Police investigators were looking for a knife-wielding man who tried to abduct a 13-year-old boy from a northwest Modesto park Friday morning, a department spokesman said.
Modesto police notified school officials throughout the city about the incident, Sgt. Brian Findlen said.
The incident occurred about 8:30 a.m. inside the bathroom at Chrysler Park, 2721 Park Place, just south of West Rumble Road. The park is between Prescott Senior Elementary School and Chrysler Elementary School, which are both part of the Stanislaus Union School District.
The boy escaped and was not injured, Findlen said. He ran home and told his parents, who called Prescott Senior Elementary, which the boy attends.
Findlen said the teen was alone at the park. He was in the bathroom when the man, armed with a knife, walked in and confronted him.
He said the man demanded the teen accompany him to his house.
"(The victim) was able to make it out without being touched," Findlen said. "He ran out of there and never looked back. He ran all the way home."
Modesto police have assigned a detective to the case, and investigators are looking at law enforcement databases to identify a suspect based on the description and location of the incident, Findlen said. The database searches include convicted sex offenders who live near the park.
Police described the suspect as a white man in his 20s, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He had short black hair, a mustache and was wearing a 49ers short-sleeve jersey with blue jeans.
The teen told police the man arrived at the park on an orange BMX-style bicycle. The boy saw two tattoos on the man's right forearm.
Officers searched the area near the park and the boy's school until 11 a.m. but did not find the suspect.
Findlen said police gave officials at Stanislaus Union School District and Modesto City Schools information about the incident and the suspect's description.
If police do not find the suspect over the weekend, Modesto police urged more vigilance by parents and students on Monday.
"We recommend that parents accompany their children to and from school when possible," Findlen said. "If that is not an option, walking in groups is a way to deter these types of people."
Wayne Brown, superintendent at Stanislaus Union, said they first notified staff at the district's seven schools.
"The word got out immediately," Brown said.
The district also sent students home with letters about the incident and the suspect's description.
Brown said phone messages about the incident were sent to parents of students at Prescott Senior Elementary, which has an automated telephone system.
"Anytime when it involves one of our kids, that's a pretty big priority to us," Brown said. "When it involves someone carrying a weapon, more so."
Modesto police ask anyone who witnessed this incident or has information about the suspect to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters also can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Type "TIP704" along with your message.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.