Published July 19, 2012
PHILADELPHIA – A man suspected of trying to kidnap a 10-year-old girl off a sidewalk near her Philadelphia home was arrested Thursday after widely publicized surveillance video of the attack led him to surrender, authorities said.
Carlos Figueroa-Fagot, 33, was charged with attempted kidnapping, indecent assault and related offenses. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
The chilling video had been broadcast extensively since police released it a day earlier, leading to tips about the suspect's identity. Police Capt. John Darby said the footage essentially "forced him to come forward."
"He felt that he could not walk, talk or breathe out there on the streets," Darby said at a news conference.
The victim, whom Darby described as "a real trooper," suffered superficial injuries and has been talking with police about what happened.
The attempted abduction late Tuesday afternoon appeared to be completely random, Darby said, although he noted the suspect has had previous encounters with police. Figueroa-Fagot lives several miles from the girl's neighborhood in south Philadelphia.
The video shows a man approach the girl from behind in broad daylight as she walks home from a corner store with her toddler brother. The man puts his hand over the girl's mouth and tries to carry her away, but she struggles and the young boy screams.
"(The victim) said ... she's never heard him scream that loud in the past," Darby said. "She credits him with interrupting the attack."
The kidnap try lasts only seconds before the man runs to his car and drives off.
Police also found the white car that they believe the suspect was driving. Authorities said the man followed the children, leaving his car door open with the apparent intention of dragging the girl to the vehicle.
Court records indicate Figueroa-Fagot was charged with sexual offenses against a minor in February 2011 in Philadelphia, which were later dropped. That case involved accusations made by a family member, District Attorney Seth Williams said Thursday. The alleged victim and her mother later told prosecutors they made up the accusations, and officials dropped the charges this month, Williams said.
Figueroa-Fagot had run-ins with police in Puerto Rico, where he previously lived, Darby said. He said none of those — between 2000 and 2006 — involved allegations of sexual assaults.