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Neighbor confronts man police are searching for in attempted break-ins

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Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 18:45:24-04

Parents in one Elyria neighborhood are on edge because a mother told police she caught a man trying to break into the bedroom of her four little girls -  and that man has yet to be caught.

"Definitely making sure everything is locked, constantly watching my surroundings, making sure they're safe. I keep them in my bedroom with me now," said mom Ashley Dempsey who lives in the North West River Road neighborhood. 

Elyria police said shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday morning a man was trying to break into the home when the mom of the girls spotted him and he took off. 

Eugene Shumate and his wife had just pulled into their driveway and noticed a suspicious car with the lights on across the street. They hadn't even made it into the house when all of a sudden, "He came around the bush. I said what are you doing in my yard? He says I was talking to my friend over here," explained Shumate.

It wasn't until his neighbor came running through his yard moments later that he discovered what had happened. "He says he was trying to get in my window, he had the screen up. I said call the police," said Shumate.

Sunday's incident happened less than a half-mile from a similar incident in February. That's when police said a man broke into the bedroom window of a 10-year-old girl and tried to grab her. She yelled for her dad who chased the man. 

Elyria police have not linked this most recent case to any of the others. 

The FBI said the only two cases are forensically linked, the attempted abduction in Elyria in February and the abduction of a 6-year-old Cleveland girl who was taken and held for 17 hours before being dropped off in a neighborhood near where she was taken back in May. 

There have been several other attempted abduction cases but police and the FBI stress those have not been linked together and the investigations are ongoing. 

The man who police said took the Cleveland girl was driving a Chevy Malibu with a different color front fender. 

Shumate said the car he saw the man get into early Sunday morning was a blue or green color Chevy Malibu or Impala.