Melbourne cops join 'disturbing' kidnap hunt

SPECIALIST police from Melbourne will arrive in Wangaratta today to join the investigation into what has been described as the “disturbing” attempted abduction of a girl, 16, last week.

Police say they are unable to identify any suspects for the attack on the girl, who had been walking from a milk bar back to school about 1.30pm on Friday.

Two men in an old silver sedan had followed the girl along Edward Street and into Blake Street.

Police said the men parked the car on the footpath so the teenager couldn’t get past.

The girl refused the offer of a lift and the front-seat passenger, a man in his 40s, grabbed her by the waist.

The girl screamed and escaped, fleeing towards Galen College.

Detectives from the Wangaratta sexual offences and child abuse team are investigating.

Sgt Karlyne Carr said that they had “no identifiable suspects” after releasing an image of the front-seat passenger yesterday.

“At this point, we can’t say whether they’re locals or itinerant,” Sgt Carr said.

She said investigators were “considering every bit of information” and planned to continue with doorknocks in the area this week.

Officers from the Melbourne-based sexual crime squad are expected to arrive in Wangaratta today to assist in the investigation.

Sgt Carr said the incident was “disturbing” but the community should not be alarmed.

“We don’t want people to be alarmed but we want them to remain vigilant,” she said.

“It’s safety in numbers.”

Sgt Carr praised the bravery of the teenager.

“She was marvellous to fight him off,” she said.

Sgt Carr urged anyone who saw anything unusual in the area to contact them.

“Give us a call. It might be insignificant to them but it may be useful to us,” she said.

Information can be passed on by phoning Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Wangaratta police on (03) 5723 0888.

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