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Attempted abduction in Woodland scares shoppers

7:10 PM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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WOODLAND, CA - Woodland police are investigating the attempted abduction of a woman from a busy shopping center in broad daylight.

"My gosh, that is shocking!" shopper Susie Hanneman said. "I just can't believe it."

It happened around 3:30 Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of the Westgate Shopping Center in the 300 block of West Main Street in Woodland.

It's a complex, shoppers said, is always full of cars and people.

"Having to do that in broad daylight," said shopper Alexandria Cardenas. "You have to have some guts to try to think you're going to get away with it."

The woman, 31, said she was walking between cars on the east side of the parking lot when a truck door suddenly opened and blocked her way.

According to police, a man was sitting in his white pick-up truck, grabbed the woman by the hair and tried to pull her in the car.

The victim yelled for help. Fortunately, someone nearby came up. The man let the victim go and then drove off.

"Thank God for people in the community who actually react," shopper Kristin Carner said. "And don't just turn away and think 'not my problem.'"

A worker at a yogurt shop said she saw a man sitting in a white truck in front of the store for more than five hours. She didn't see the attempted abduction, but believes it happened in front of the store. As she walked out from the back, she saw an older man hitting the back of the truck as it drove away. She said police responded shortly after.

The victim wasn't hurt. But the close call rattled people's nerves, including those who work in the shopping center.

"We're coming in and out, sometimes during the night," said employee Eva Savidge. "It is a scary thought."

Police would not say whether the woman was targeted or if she was selected at random. They continue to look for the would-be abductor and were trying to locate surveillance footage to see if anything was caught on camera.

Many of the businesses on the east side of the lot were open at the time, but apparently no one knew what was going on.

Shoppers, meanwhile, say they're going to be more vigilant and on guard.

"I'm definitely going to be more aware of where I am," Carner said. "I'm more careful at night. I wouldn't think to do it during the day."

"Watching my back constantly," Cardenas added. "Being more careful and cautious about things."

The man was described as Hispanic, his late 30s, with a large build, dark hair, and a moustache. At the time, he was wearing a light blue hooded sweatshirt, green sweatpants and no shoes.

His truck was a white, compact, 1990s model pick-up truck. It was last seen being driven eastbound on West Main Street.

by Siemny Chhoun, SChhoun@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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