Boy playing hide-and-seek grabbed by stranger at shopping centre

·2-min read

The mother of a nine-year-old boy has recalled the panic she felt after her nine-year-old son was grabbed by a stranger at a Melbourne shopping centre over the weekend.

On Saturday at around 12.15pm, Jess and her son were at Tunstall Square Shopping Centre in Doncaster East, when the boy was almost abducted.

Speaking with 7News, Jess said they ran into friends at the shopping centre and the children began playing hide and seek.

In a statement, Victoria Police said the boy was approached by a man while hiding in a doorway.

A nine-year-old boy was almost abducted at a shopping centre in Doncaster East. Source: Google Maps
A nine-year-old boy was almost abducted at a shopping centre in Doncaster East. Source: Google Maps

The man asked the boy if he liked cars and grabbed his arm, though the boy managed to break free.

The man then grabbed the boy a second time. He was once again able to break free and run towards his mother.

“I was panicked. It could have been devastating,” Jess told 7News.

Fortunately, Jess said her son wasn't too shaken by the attempted kidnapping, however she is anticipating that to change when her son realises what could have happened.

She said she was proud of her nine-year-old who was able to recall all the details he remembered about the man.

Police were able to make a computer-generated image of the man, who they want to speak to about the incident.

A computer generated picture of the man was released by police. Source: Victoria Police
A computer generated picture of the man was released by police. Source: Victoria Police

The man police want to speak to had a snake tattooed around his neck and a profane word tattooed on his left hand. 

"The man is perceived to be Caucasian in appearance with a medium build, about 175cm tall with a long scruffy beard, brown eyes and had scratches on his face," Victoria Police said in a statement.

Police also want anyone at the shopping centre at the time who may have dash cam footage of the incident to contact them.

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