Smithfield, N.C. — Smithfield police are searching for a man who they believe might have tried to kidnap a 16-year-old girl out running Tuesday night.
The girl was in the 1200 block of South Crescent Street around 8:30 p.m. when someone in a car pulled up behind her, grabbed her by hair and waist and then picked her up, police said Wednesday.
She began screaming and struck the man in the face before escaping without any injuries.
While police are looking for leads, residents in the area of South Crescent Street are looking to get back their peace of mind.
"I hope they find him. I hope they find out who did it," Jane Brougthon, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, said Wednesday.
"Everyone here knows each other," she said. "We watch out for each other. We've seen our children grow up together."
That makes what happened Tuesday night even more disturbing, neighbor Addison Grantham said.
"I mean, I've got a little sister. She's also 16," he said. "I mean, that could have been her."
The teen described her attempted kidnapper as a black man in his 30s or 40s who had long dreadlocks and was wearing a hooded jacket and loose pants. He was 6 feet tall and weighed 180 to 200 pounds, police said.
He was last seen driving south on Crescent Street in a small black vehicle with a large dent in the right rear portion.
Anyone with information that could help police is asked to contact the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121 or 919-989-1063.