SOUTH SALT LAKE — Police are asking for the public's help in finding a man who may have tried to abduct a 7-year-old girl on her way to school.

Two boys and two girls — siblings between the ages of 7 and 12 — were walking to school along Main Street near 2685 South just after 8 a.m. Monday, when a man put his hand on the shoulder of one of the girls, said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller.

The man started to pull the girl behind a business, when he spotted a nearby police car, Keller said. The police vehicle apparently caused the man to let go of the girl and continue walking as if nothing had happened, he said.

The children did not report the incident until they returned home from school and told their parents.

The children's parents, Michelle and Aaron Roberts, said their daughter was frightened but is doing well emotionally following the incident. The kids will be walking to school with an adult from now on.

Aaron Roberts said he doesn't understand why anyone would want to to harm his children.

"I'm irritated and disturbed," he said. "I don't really know how to feel."

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Detectives investigating the incident discovered that a nearby businesses had surveillance video of alleged attempted abduction. Investigators are hoping now the public will help them identify the man.

The suspect is described as having a darker complexion, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, 180 pounds, between 20 and 40 years old and having "scruffy facial hair." He was last seen wearing a dark hooded coat with the hood up, dark pants, black boots and was carrying a black backpack. Police said his clothes also appeared to be dirty.

Anyone with information can call police at 801-840-4000.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam