Abduction bid link unclear

Derek Ealson.
Derek Ealson.
It is too soon to say whether an attempted abduction of a Cromwell girl was linked to two similar incidents in Invercargill during the past month, Alexandra police say.

''At this stage, we don't believe so, as there are different descriptions of the men involved, but it's probably a bit early to rule out any link,'' Sergeant Derek Ealson, of Alexandra, said yesterday.

Central Otago police are investigating an incident on Friday when a 12-year-girl cycling home in Cromwell was allegedly grabbed from behind by one of the occupants of a white van with tinted windows after the van had been following the girl. Sgt Ealson had praise for the girl's actions.

''She did exactly the right thing and screamed and kicked."

The girl was able to break free and the men, described as dark-skinned with foreign accents, drove off.

One of the men had shoulder-length dreadlocks and the other had a shaven head. Police had received some information from members of the public but were still keen to hear from anyone else, he said.

Southland police are investigating two incidents of a man with grey hair in a white van with tinted windows allegedly attempting abductions of teenage girls in Invercargill during the past three weeks.

Sgt Ealson said police were still investigating an incident in Alexandra on Friday afternoon, in which a 7-year-old boy was offered a ride home by a stranger.

They were confident that incident was separate from the Cromwell one.