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Arrest made in kidnap attempts

Sandy police hail alert woman for valuable tip

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SANDY — Police believe they have arrested the man wanted in connection with the attempted kidnappings of several young women here since last August. A woman with a good memory is being credited for cracking the case.

The man, 22, was arrested Sunday after another kidnapping attempt. He approached a woman, 19, near 9400 South and 150 West about 2 a.m. Sunday, said Sandy Police Lt. Kevin Thacker.

The man asked to borrow the woman's cell phone but then pulled out a knife and demanded she get in the car with him, Thacker said. The woman pleaded with the man to not take her and he let her go.

The scenario was similar to five other kidnapping attempts. In each case the victim was let go with little resistance, Thacker said.

While the woman from Sunday's incident was being interviewed by police, she told investigators that she thought the man resembled a person who went to her high school a few years ago.

Detectives had copies of old Jordan High School yearbooks in their office and the woman eventually found her alleged attacker, Thacker said. The two had apparently gone to the school at the same time but were in different grades.

Police contacted the man the woman picked out of the yearbook and then arrested him after interviewing him. Based on information gathered at the interview, detectives believe the man is responsible for all of the kidnapping incidents. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on two counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping and one count of attempted aggravated kidnapping of a minor.

"There's no question she did a great job," Thacker said of the woman who picked out her attacker.

The man police were looking for had a pattern of striking only once a month. All of his alleged attempted kidnappings were in the Sandy area. In each case, the attacks occurred between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. The victims ranged from age 12 to 20.

In two of the incidents the women got into the man's car but were released a short time later without incident.

Thacker said Monday investigators did not have a motive for the kidnapping attempts. In November police issued several composite sketches of the man and a warning for girls not to walk alone at night. They were afraid the man would become more aggressive with each kidnapping attempt and might try to assault one of his victims.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com