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Palmetto police still investigating reported child kidnapping

PALMETTO — Palmetto police this morning continued to investigate a possible child abduction that reportedly took place late Wednesday afternoon.

Officers learned of the incident after a 9-year-old boy told authorities he witnessed another boy getting snatched off a bicycle at about 5:30 p.m.

As of 9 a.m. today, no missing children had been reported to local law enforcement, said Detective Sgt. Stephen Greer.

“But we are still looking into it and handling it as something happened until we can verify otherwise,” Greer said.

The witness was two blocks away when he saw a boy he didn’t know riding a bicycle north on 24th Avenue West, said Palmetto Police Lt. Scott Tyler.

When the boy on the bicycle reached the intersection with 17th Street West, two men exited a four-door silver sedan with tinted windows and grabbed him, according to the witness.

The witness told officers that the boy appeared to be struggling with the men as he was pushed into the backseat and that they placed the bicycle in the trunk.

Tyler said the men in the car wore jeans and that one was wearing a dark blue or black shirt. The other, he said, was wearing a red shirt.

Police canvassed the residential neighborhood just a mile from the Manatee County Fairgrounds.

The boy appeared to be about 9 to 10 years old and 5 feet tall with medium dark wavy hair, Tyler said.

“This is kinda like a mirror of what happened at the sheriff’s office,” Greer said this morning.

On Feb. 18, a woman, who resides in the 7300 block of Phillips Street, called authorities after she said she saw a boy with sandy blond hair get snatched up by a man in a van near the intersection of Phillips Street and Whitfield Avenue.

After the report, sheriff’s officials sent out 48,000 reverse 911 calls to homes across the county and did door-to-door canvasses in the Whitfield Estates area.

But no one else witnessed the reported abduction and in the days after the incident, no one reported a missing child.

Anyone with any information on Thursday’s reported kidnapping can call the Palmetto Police Department at (941) 723-4587.

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