Thursday, December 12, 2013
OLD ORCHARD BEACH — A Saco man is charged with trying to abduct a 3-year-old boy on Tuesday afternoon while his parents watched, police said today.
Eric Auger, 37, of 24 Norman St., Saco, allegedly snatched the boy as he played in a grassy area near Pine Grove Cabins and Vacancy Pub at 17 Ocean Park Road, said Deputy Chief Keith Babin.
The child’s parents were sitting at a picnic table in front of their cabin when they noticed a man standing near the road, as if he were waiting for a bus, Babin said.
The parents were suspicious of the man, they later told police, because he kept looking at their child.
Suddenly, the man walked over to the boy, grabbed him and ran away, carrying the boy, Babin said.
The boy’s father ran after the man, caught up to him and pulled the boy away, sending him running back to his mother, Babin said.
The father confronted the man and tried to restrain him, but the man ran away. The parents called police and described the incident and the man.
A police officer in a patrol car saw a man, fitting the parents’ description, walking on Ocean Park Road in Saco, toward Route 1. Pine Grove Cabins and Vacancy Pub are on Route 5, near the Saco border, at the intersection of Saco Avenue and the 195 connector to Interstate 95.
The officer stopped the man, interviewed him briefly and arrested him, Babin said.
Auger was arraigned today in York District Court. His bail was set at $500 and he was being held in York County Jail this afternoon.
Criminal restraint is a Class C felony, which carries a jail sentence of three to five years, Babin said.
Auger has been arrested several times for offenses ranging from disorderly conduct to drunken driving, but he has no history of sexual offenses, Babin said.
The boy and his parents were upset but not injured, Babin said. The family is from Texas but is living in the area.
Babin said the parents were wise to take notice of the man and fortunate to be able to stop him.
“If they had gone into the cabin for a minute to make a phone call or something, the outcome might have been very different,” Babin said. “Keep a close eye on your children, especially when unknown people are around.”