COUNCIL BLUFFS — A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap a fifth-grade girl Monday after her classes at Edison Elementary School.

Sgt. Dave Dawson of the Council Bluffs Police Department said the man, a Council Bluffs resident, was booked into the Potawattamie County Jail for third-degree kidnapping, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, enticing a minor and child stealing. The incident occurred about a block from the school, which is located at 2218 Third Ave.

Dawson said a 10-year-old girl was finishing her duties as a crossing guard about 2:20 p.m. when a man approached her and said, “What's Up?” He then grabbed her arm with one hand and forced her to walk with him for several feet.

When the victim tried to break free, the man told her, “It's OK.” The victim was finally able to get away, Dawson said, and ran to a family member who was waiting in a nearby car to pick her up.

The suspect left the area but was located later a short distance away by the girl's father and held until police arrive.

Diane Ostrowski, a spokeswoman for Council Bluffs Community Schools, said classes are dismissed at 1:55 p.m. on Mondays.

“We're obviously very thankful that nothing happened to the student and there was a family member nearby,” Ostrowski said. “We will be talking to students about being aware of strangers.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, Kevin.cole@owh.com

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