E. 6th St. snatcher is still at large

By Sarah Ferguson

East Village parents are holding their kids extra tight knowing that the man who attempted to abduct a 4-year-old boy on E. Sixth St. last week remains at large.

The incident occurred around 11:45 a.m. on Wed., Oct. 27, outside Sunny and Annie’s Deli on the corner of Sixth St. and Avenue B, shortly after a nanny exited a cab with the boy and his twin sister.

According to police, as the boy was walking behind the nanny, a man reached down and grabbed the child, saying something like, “You’re coming with me, kid.” The nanny screamed and yanked the boy back, and the man walked away.

Video captured by the deli’s surveillance cameras shows the man calmly strolling down Avenue B after the attempted snatch, as if nothing happened.

“It almost looked like he was fooling around because he had a smile on his face when he was walking away,” said deli worker David Choi, who reviewed the tapes numerous times with police.

“That’s a lot of fooling around,” scoffed Elizabeth Herring, whose 8-year-old son attends P.S. 64, which is directly across the street from the deli. “It was very brazen, very bold to do that in broad daylight — that’s what makes it so scary.”

“This is a high-traffic area,” Herring continued. “That store is jampacked, so for it to happen in the middle of the day, it’s crazy. Thank God, he didn’t have a car.”

“We’ve never had such a big turnout of parents volunteering to cover exit doors and the schoolyard,” said Elizabeth’s husband, Al Herring, who regularly volunteers at P.S. 64 — which also houses the Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School.

As detectives canvassed the area, police posted reward signs and dispatched a van with a loudspeaker to circle the neighborhood, warning parents to be extra-vigilant and asking anyone with information on the case to report it to the Crime Stoppers hotline, 1-800-577-TIPS. Local schools and school safety officers were also notified. 

The suspect is an African-American man, 45 to 55 years old, between 5-feet-6-inches and 5-feet-8-inches tall, with a slim build. The surveillance tape shows him wearing a brown, hooded and zippered sweatshirt with writing on the front and faded black jeans.

Although the tape was broadcast on all local TV channels, police have yet to receive any leads on the suspect.

“There has been nothing fruitful,” said a Police Department spokesperson, who said the investigation is “ongoing.”

The image of the suspect was too low resolution to reproduce in the newspaper. To view the video, visit the Web site of NY1, which posted it on Oct. 28 under the headline “Search Continues For Man Who Tried To Snatch Boy In East Village.”