crimesider

N.M. neighbor chases kidnapper, rescues 6-year-old girl, cops say

CBS
Phillip Garcia, accused of abducting a 6-year-old Albuqerque, N.M. girl on Monday, August 15, 2011
KRQE

(CBS/AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Police say that an alert neighbor saved a 6-year-old girl from a man who snatched her and shoved her into a van as she walked home from a neighbor's house, where she had gone to pick up tostadas.

A pair of 911 calls came in to police Monday afternoon, including one from the wife of the neighbor and a breathless call from the girl's 12-year-old sister.

Another neighbor, Antonio Diaz Chacon, heard commotion and saw the abduction just before 5 p.m. Monday. Police said he hopped in his car and chased the van and the van's driver tried to lose Chacon but crashed into a light pole.

Chacon rescued the girl while the suspect, whom police identified as Phillip Garcia, ran away. After Chacon left with the girl, the suspect returned to the van and took off but was later apprehended by police.

Hidden under a rock just 25 feet from where the kidnapper crashed his van, officers found packing tape and tie-down strap. Inside the impounded van were tostadas, a glove, a Leatherman tool, a black satchel, orange strapping similar to the strap found hidden under the rock, police said.

"This little girl was very lucky," said Albuquerque police Sgt. Tricia Hoffman. "If it wasn't for him, this could have been very bad."

Garcia was charged with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence.

The girl told police the man put his hand over her mouth and she bit him. She said the man shoved her on the floorboard to keep her head under the window view, according to the police report. She told police there were not backseats in the van and described other details consistent with impounded van, police said.

Sgt. Hoffman said Garcia is from Albuquerque but she was unsure if he had a criminal record. She said there have not been any other recent child abductions or attempted abductions in the city.