Neighbours near the Prince Albert playground where an eight-year-old girl was abducted are shocked by Tuesday’s incident.
The playground, located next to a school in an east Prince Albert neighbourhood, is a popular site for area children.
“It’s very scary,” said Trudie Brown, who lives directly across from École Vickers and can normally see everything going on around the swings and slides.
“The kids just play by themselves all the time.”
Police issued an amber alert Tuesday evening after an eight-year-old girl was reported missing around 3:30 p.m.
Security footage from the school showed a man with dark skin and shaggy hair approaching the playground, where the girl was playing by herself.
Police said he tried talking to the girl, who then attempted to leave the playground and away from him.
The suspect then cornered her along the school’s wall and talked with her more. He then grabbed her and put her in the back of his car and drove away.
The girl was found safe shortly after 8 p.m. and returned to her family, who are declining to speak to media.
Jarrod John Charles of St. Louis, Sask. was arrested a few hours later in connection to the abduction.
No charges have been laid, but the investigation is continuing.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) July 5, 2017
Brown said she arrived home about an hour after the girl was reported missing, and kids were still playing on the equipment.
She added there’s never been a problem before.
“I’ve never seen anybody lurking,” she said. “The kids are always playing, always laughing and having fun.”
Mercedes Donne has lived across from the school her entire life, and said Tuesday was the first time she’s ever felt afraid near her home.
“I was scared to go from my car to my front door,” she said.
Norm Pellerin has lived in the Cedar Acres neighbourhood for 26 years.
He said the area is one of the safest areas in Prince Albert.
“I don’t even have a fence, and I’ve never had anything vandalized or stolen,” he said.
But he said the abduction is a reminder parents need to be aware.
“You have to be vigilant,” he said.
History of legal trouble
Charles, the man arrested, has a history related to amber alerts.
The 19-year-old was charged in September after two boys were reported missing in La Ronge.
Wakaw RCMP said at the time Charles was in violation of a previous undertaking banning him from contact with children under the age of 16 without an adult present.
The amber alert ended within two hours after the boys, aged eight and 10, were found at Charles’ grandmother’s home in St. Louis.
The charges were later dropped after a prosecutor decided not to pursue the case.