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Attempted kidnapping raises concerns near MSU

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 28 2013 11:18:01 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Parents in the Paisley Court area of MSU Family and Graduate Housing said they heard the news Thursday afternoon.

"We got a notice posted on our door" said resident Steven Altoff.

It said a man tried to abduct an elementary school-aged boy right where they live.

"Pretty scary" Altoff said. "We feel pretty safe here most of the time, and to see something like that happening- you just don't really expect it here."

Police said a man in a black pickup truck approached the boy Wednesday night. The suspect tried to get the boy in the truck by saying he'd give him a ride home.

Altoff said his son is only three and a half, so they supervise him when he's outside.

But after Wednesday night's incident, he said they'll be even more cautious.

"We'll definitely be a lot more careful about being with him the whole time, and checking in on him and making sure that he doesn't get out of our sights" he said.

The boy told police he refused to get in the truck and ran away. Earlier this month, the same thing reportedly happened just three miles away near Hyalite Elementary.

A male in a black pick-up tried to lure a young girl. She also ran. The suspect is still at large.

"I was already cautious to the fact that it would be something that could happen" said parent Beth Bakken, who also lives in the Paisley Court housing.

Bakken said sadly, she isn't surprised by the incidents. So when her two young kids reach school age, she's going to make sure they're prepared to handle those types of situations.

"I would definitely want to talk to them about stranger danger" she said.

The male is described as over six feet tall, with a mustache and tan complexion. The vehicle is described as a full-sized, four-door, four by four black pickup truck.

Anyone with information related to these incidents is urged to call  MSU Police at 994-2121.

In a separate report, a student told the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office a white car with front end damage seemed to be following them as they were walking in the River Rock area.

Police remind all students, faculty, staff and visitors to use caution walking alone, and encourage parents are encouraged to speak with their kids about stranger danger.

The MSU Police Department offers escorts on campus 24 hours a day.