Gaston County on alert after attempted kidnappings

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —

Organizers of some Gaston County Halloween celebrations changed their plans to include heightened security after two attackers targeted children at busy parks this week.

Christ United Methodist Church off Union Road in Gastonia moved activities during its trunk-or-treat event inside. Church leaders also asked members who are law enforcement to patrol the area while they were on duty.

The church took the steps toward safety after two attempts this week to kidnap children playing outside.

"My little boy comes up to me, tells me some guy tried to pull him in the woods," said Joshua Campbell.

Campbell was at a football game at McDonald Athletic Field in McAdenville Saturday when a man grabbed his 10-year-old son.

The man let the boy go when the boy put up a fight.

"I've always told him if anybody comes to take you, scream and make a scene. He did what I taught him," he said.

The man is described as white male between ages 30 and 40, approximately 200 pounds, with short reddish-brown hair, a beard and a muscular build. He was seen driving an older model faded blue Honda Civic or Accord.

Another 14-year-old was fortunate enough to also get away Gastonia when another man tried to grab her at Martha Rivers Park on Sunday. She also put up a fight. The girl described that man as a Hispanic male driving a black truck.

Police don't believe the two incidents are connected.