Child kidnapping thwarted by driver, suspect later apprehended

PERRIS – A man who allegedly tried to lure a 10-year-old girl into his SUV near a Perris elementary school last week was interrupted by a concerned witness, who contacted authorities.

Patrick Bellows, 45, allegedly approached the victim shortly before 8 a.m. near the intersection of Orange and Wilson avenues, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect parked his Chevrolet Suburban and asked the student, who was on her way to nearby Triple Crown Elementary, whether she wanted him to call police, but had no physical contact with her, said sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Forbes.

“He then asked her if she needed a ride to the hospital,” said Forbes. “When she refused a ride, he became angry and demanded repeatedly that she get into his vehicle.”

According to Forbes, the girl was frightened and started backing away from the Suburban, catching the attention of a passing motorist.

The witness stopped her car and started to approach the suspect’s SUV, at which point the girl bolted for home and Bellows drove away, Forbes said.

The witness took down the suspect’s license plate number and called 911, he said.

After locating the student, deputies went to Bellows’ residence in the 2600 block of Murrieta Road in Perris, according to the sergeant. He said the girl identified Bellows when deputies asked him to step outside. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.

“Based on Bellows’ brazen attitude, in such close proximity to an elementary school…investigators are not ruling out that there may be other, as yet unidentified persons who Bellows contacted in the recent past,” Forbes said.

Anyone with information was asked to call sheriff’s Detective Tom Salisbury at (951) 210-1000.

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