A May 13 incident in which a 10-year-old girl came in contact with a member of a religious organization at Riverside Plaza has worried area parents, but it is not being considered an attempted kidnapping, according to the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
The girl was interviewed for a third time Monday, Detective Bob Del Valle said, and the police have no reason or cause to pursue charges against the religious group, The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. Followers of the group founded by Sun Myung Moon in Korea, are more commonly know as "Moonies."
According to police reports, the girl was in the hallway at the Steamboat Ballet Studio when she decided to go to the nearby Celebrations store to get a pencil. When she returned, she found a woman from the religious group going through her backpack.
The girl asked the woman, who was Asian and appeared to be in her late 20s to early 30s, what she was doing. The woman then put her arm around the girl's shoulders, in an encouraging way, and asked her to come with her to a car, Del Valle said.
The woman was leading the girl out the back entrance when the girl got scared, pulled away from the woman and kicked her. The girl then ran into Celebrations, Del Valle said.
"She knew what to do when a stranger tried to take her some place," Del Valle said.
Later in the afternoon, the woman appeared at Celebrations and asked an employee if the store would like to purchase magnets the religious organization was selling.
The store employee, who had heard the girl's story, told the woman she did not want to buy any magnets, asked her to leave and then called the police, Del Valle said.
The police contacted three of the seven people who were in town selling magnets for the organization. The group was cooperative and agreed to leave town, Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
"We had no reason to hold them or arrest them or take any action against them," Fiebing said.
The police department did research on the group and contacted the FBI about the incident, Fiebing said, but nothing criminal or suspicious was found.
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