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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Kidnap attempt stuns Kaimuki neighborhood

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau

KAIMUKI — The old-style bungalow homes and mom-and-pop businesses here lend an old-fashioned air to the area. Everyone from youngsters to grandparents feels safe strolling Wai'alae Avenue, the main corridor, and it's busy, particularly at 4:30 p.m. on a weekday.

So the attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl here on Thursday both surprised and saddened residents.

"I feel sorry for the girl and the terror she went through," said Joseph Holtz, a Kaimuki Neighborhood Board member and father of two girls. "When I read this to my girls we talked about what the girl should have done."

The girl was walking home on Wai'alae Avenue at 4:30 p.m. when a car pulled in front of her near the Pizza Hut restaurant parking lot. The driver threw open the passenger-side door and demanded she get in.

The door hit the girl in the stomach and she ran toward home, police said. The man followed her.

The girl reached home, where relatives called police and the suspect fled. The girl was treated at a hospital and and released.

Holtz said his neighborhood is very safe and in the six years he has been on the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board he has never heard of any incidents like this.

"I have no problem with my neighborhood," Holtz said. "It's probably one of the safest in the state. Kids play out on the street all the time."

There are no new leads in the case, said Capt. Carlton Nishimura of the Honolulu Police Department Criminal Investigations Division. Because the car was out of the area by the time police were called, the only lead police had was a description of the car, he said.

"This kind of thing doesn't happen normally," Nishimura said. "It's a highly populated area."

Police recommend that children be aware of strangers, people making demands on them or trying to accost them. Children should yell for help or run into an open business and ask for assistance if they find themselves in trouble, Nishimura said.

"Getting attention is very important," he said.