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Bystanders stop kidnapping as mom screamed for help at basketball tourney, WA cops say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A stranger tried to kidnap a woman’s child on Sunday while she was at a Washington basketball tournament, police say.

The mother had taken her children to Hoopfest, a popular tournament that shuts down 45 blocks of downtown Spokane, Washington, and draws thousands of people, according to The Spokesman-Review. She was standing with her children Sunday night when a man walked up and asked whether the kids belonged to her, police said. When she said yes, the man wrapped his arms around one of her children, police said.

The mother reached out as he was taking the child away, police said.

“The mom grabbed the kid back and they had a tug of war back and forth with the kid and she started screaming,” police Cpl. Ron Van Tassel told KHQ TV in Spokane.

That’s when several people standing nearby wrestled him to the ground and held him down until officers could arrive, police said. Witnesses later told investigators that the man was walking around the tournament and acting strangely, particularly around children, police said.

The man, identified as Peter Wilson, 26, was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later charged with attempted kidnapping, police said.

Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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