Chico Police are searching for a transient they say grabbed a child's arm as his mother walked him to school.
They say it happened early Tuesday morning on Laurel Street as the woman walked her elementary school-aged child to class in Chapmantown. The woman told police that the transient, described as dark-skinned and in his 30's, grabbed the child's arm, prompting her to yell for help. When neighbors opened up their doors to see what was happening, the man took off.
Marius Roeterdink has lived on Laurel Street for two years. He says the street leads to a dead end, but there is alleyway access. He says the area is busy with transient activity, and he suspects the neighborhood will get even busier when the Jesus Center moves to the BMX track a few blocks away. Says Roeterdink, "We don't have an exit to 20th Street, so there's no outlet for the regular traffic, and (what you see) it's kind of strange. Sometimes I try to hide my stuff that's valuable ya know?"
Roeterdink, an avid cyclist, says he's disappointed with the decision to replace the BMX track at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds with the shelter. He says, "They already have a BMX track out there. I know they're getting rid of it for the new Jesus Center, which I think is a shame....Robert Kennedy was building the track, and finally found a good spot out there, and they started paving over their jumps out there, thinking it was going to be permanent. But now they're going to tear it all down. It was pretty cool. The kids were learning what their parents used to do."
Roeterdink says despite some problems, he enjoys living in Chapmantown, and says there's a feeling of community in the neighborhood. "It seems everybody knows everybody here."
Chico Police are asking for tips in locating the man who grabbed the boy's arm. They are asking witnesses to call at (530) 897-4911 with information.