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Security checks expanded in search for child attack suspect

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Authorities have expanded security checks on local bases as they continue to look for one or more suspects in connection with recent reports of child molestation and attempted abductions at bases in the Kaiserslautern area, Air Force officials said.

No suspects are in custody, Lt. Col. Eric Springer, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron commander, said in a written response to a query Wednesday.

Over the last several days, security forces personnel have been stopping vehicles exiting Vogelweh housing area and checking drivers’ identification cards, among other measures. Springer said the gate checks, which are related to the child molestation investigation, are designed to “actively engage the public and identify persons who match the physical description of potential suspects.”

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Springer said it would not be appropriate to comment on what the vehicle checks may have yielded, “except to state that all leads are being actively investigated.”

Base residents and officials in the Kaiserslautern Military Community have been on heightened alert following two reports of child molestation and two reports of attempted child abduction on bases in the community since January. Three of the instances involved girls between 5 and 7, officials have said. An 11-year-old boy reported last week that someone tried to grab him on Vogelweh housing area while he walked alone late in the afternoon.

On Saturday, a 17-year-old girl residing in the Vogelweh housing area reported an unknown man came to the family’s door and made suspicious statements. She was able to provide a description of the man to authorities, who have said they don’t think the incident was related to the previous incidents.

All of the cases are still being actively investigated, Springer said.

Similar vehicle checks are also being conducted at Ramstein Air Base, said Lt. Col. Philip A. Holmes, the 86th Security Forces Squadron commander at Ramstein. “We have increased the number of such checks because of these investigations, but we would normally be doing them anyway,” he said in an email.

svanj@estripes.osd.mil

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