Teacher Busted For Alleged Abduction Attempt - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Teacher Busted For Alleged Abduction Attempt

CLEVELAND – Police busted a local schoolteacher on Tuesday for being an alleged playground predator, Lynna Lai reported with details you could have only seen on Action News.

The incident in question happened on Cleveland's west side. Police said that the teacher cased a local playground in an attempt to lure young children into his car. Action News was on the scene when police nabbed the suspect on Tuesday morning.

The man, who works with young children, was at the playground a week before school is scheduled to begin. The children playing there had free reign of the playground, making them vulnerable.

Concerned mothers, including Charlene Rankin, said despite the fact that nobody was harmed the incident was too close of a call.

"Everybody's taking their kids away," Rankin said. "They don't want them out here."

"The kids were standing over there, and he said that he had cats and dogs in his car," Rankin's son, Tariq Abu-Ali, said. "We all said, 'No. Don't go over there. We don't know him.' And we all just walked away."

The stranger didn't give up, however.

"He grabbed me and said, 'I have cats and dogs in my car,'" another child said. "I pushed him away."

Parents called police, and in minutes, the car was tracked down. No pets were found inside, but officers quickly cuffed 28-year-old Wesley Edwards -- a science teacher at Garrett Morgan Middle School.

"It's so shocking," former student Ernest Hurt said. "Especially because he's a schoolteacher. Especially for that."

Hurt described the first-year teacher (pictured in the back of a squad car, above) as odd.

No one opened the door at Edwards' home on Tuesday, but as word of what happened spread on the street, so did the concern.

"It's pretty gross," neighbor Joy Harlor said. "It's disgusting."

"My kids are always here three houses away from him," neighbor Regina McConnell said. "I don't like that feeling."

Police have only charged Edwards with criminal child enticement -- a misdemeanor -- but more serious charges could be handed down. He will not be in a classroom next week when school starts up because he has been placed on administrative leave until the case is resolved. For now, he's in jail.

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