Man, 34, surrenders in attempted abduction of girl

Posted: July 20, 2012

Hours after police released dramatic surveillance footage of a man's attempt to kidnap a 10-year-old girl off a South Philadelphia street, Carlos Figueroa-Fagot started feeling the heat, police said.

The video, in which the man can be seen grabbing the girl and trying to carry her to his car, outraged the city and drew national attention. As the footage was broadcast throughout Philadelphia, and a $10,000 reward posted, Figueroa-Fagot, 33, "felt he couldn't walk, talk, or breathe on the streets," said Capt. John Darby, commander of the Special Victims Unit.

At the urging of his family, Figueroa-Fagot turned himself in to police about midnight Wednesday. Police on Thursday charged Figueroa-Fagot, of North Philadelphia, with attempted kidnapping, unlawful restraint, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful restraint, and other violations.

"This defendant knew that he could not keep walking the streets and that people were going to come get him," District Attorney Seth Williams said at a news conference.

In 2009, an angry mob in Kensington swarmed convicted rapist Jose Carrasquillo and beat him after police released his photo and identified him as the suspect in a violent attack on an 11-year-old girl.

The girl in this week's incident, who has not been identified, was walking hand-in-hand with her 2-year-old brother Tuesday afternoon in South Philadelphia when the attempted kidnapping was caught on video. The two were returning home from buying water ice at a nearby store, and surveillance cameras captured a man pulling up in a white car on Porter Street and watching the children as they turned onto Lee Street. Another camera filmed the man as he followed the children, crept up behind them, and picked up the girl.

The girl reacted instantly, struggling and resisting, and the man dropped her. He can be seen trying to pick her up a second time, then abandoning the two and returning to his car.

Police believe Figueroa-Fagot targeted the girl at random, and said he would have taken the girl to his car if she and her brother, who began yelling, had not made so much commotion.

"She said she never heard him scream that loud," Darby said. "She credits him with interrupting the attack."

After the children reported the assault to their parents, detectives quickly canvassed the area, collecting surveillance footage from several businesses and a private residence in the area. From there, they pieced together the incident as seen from a series of camera angles.

Mayor Nutter praised the Philadelphia Police Department and thanked the public and the news media for distributing the video.

"This demonstrates the power of getting information out, of having good video," he said, "of calling on the public to give us the information we need to solve cases."

Police are investigating whether Figueroa-Fagot, of Eighth Street and Allegheny Avenue, can be linked to other crimes in the city. He has spent time in multiple neighborhoods around the city, Darby said, including Center City.

He was arrested last year after a juvenile girl, described by Williams as a "family member," reported that he sexually assaulted her, police said. The girl and the girl's mother later told prosecutors that they had fabricated the story. The investigation continued, and prosecutors hoped that she and her mother would acknowledge that they had been pressured to recant the story, but the case was ultimately withdrawn this month, Williams said. Figueroa-Fagot threatened the two, police sources said.

Figueroa-Fagot also had contacts with police in Puerto Rico, Darby said.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said the children did what every child should do if they were ever approached by a stranger who tried to take them somewhere.

"They should fight, they should scream, they should kick," Ramsey said. "Whatever they do, don't get in that car."


Contact Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com.

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