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Police free child abductor


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Man In Gorilla Suit Sought In Abduction Attempt


POSTED: 7:35 am PDT October 20, 2006

UPDATED: 9:07 am PDT October 20, 2006


LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Police are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a man dressed in a gorilla costume who grabbed a 5-year-old boy at a store last summer.


The boy's parents said they are enraged by the way police handled the case at B & I Marketplace on Aug. 2, when the man snatched the boy and fled.


The boy's father chased the man and caught him, but when Lakewood police officers arrived, they accepted the man’s explanation that it was a prank.


"I'm absolutely irate, and I am just as irate at the police for not doing their job as I am at the person that committed this crime," said April Santiago, the boy’s mother.


On Thursday, Lakewood police released a photo of the man in the hopes of finding him.


"The mistake that they (the officers) did make was to not get hard identification," said Lakewood Police Lt. Dave Guttu. "They didn't verify his identification."


The officers never wrote a report or checked the false name the man gave, the boy's parents said.


Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the man and filing of charges. The phone number is 253-591 5959.


Copyright 2006 by KIROTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Friday, October 20, 2006 · Last updated 12:22 p.m. PT


'Gorilla suit' man surrenders to Lakewood police




LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- A man who was dressed in a gorilla suit when he grabbed a 5-year-old boy at a Lakewood store two months ago has surrendered to police.


The 19-year-old saw a Crimestoppers news release reporting that he was still wanted and turned himself in today in Lakewood, according to police. He was booked for investigation of unlawful imprisonment.


Anthony and April Santiago of Spanaway are considering legal action against Lakewood police for the way they originally handled the case. The family had chased down the man to rescue their screaming son. When the gorilla-suit man said it was a joke, police let him go without confirming his identification.


The incident happened at the B&I store, which kept a gorilla named Ivan as an attraction for customers for 27 years. Ivan was sent to the Atlanta zoo in 1994.



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