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Police: Teen abduction foiled by cell phone cam

The boy gave cell phone pictures of the man and his car to New Jersey police.
The boy gave cell phone pictures of the man and his car to New Jersey police.

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Police say a New Jersey teen used his cell phone's camera to take pictures that led to a would-be kidnapper. CNN's Maria Hinojosa reports. (August 1)
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start quoteIt's surprising the kid had the presence of mind to use the technology under duress.end quote
-- Detective Capt. Robert Rowan

(CNN) -- A quick-thinking 15-year-old boy used his Sprint cell phone camera to take pictures of a man who allegedly tried to lure him into his car, leading to the man's arrest, police said.

The boy, who escaped from his alleged captor after a struggle, gave pictures of the man and his car license plate to police in Clifton, New Jersey, after the incident Tuesday. Armed with that evidence, police arrested William MacDonald, 59, of Passaic, on Wednesday.

Det. Capt. Robert Rowan of the Clifton Police Department said as the boy was walking home Tuesday evening, MacDonald approached him in a white car and asked him to get in. The boy refused, Rowan said.

"Then the motorist made sexually explicit remarks," Rowan said. "The juvenile refused to get in and kept on walking. Then the juvenile took a picture of the man and the car's license plate."

Police describe struggle

After taking the pictures, MacDonald got out of the car and grabbed the boy's arm, police said. A struggle ensued, but the boy was able to escape and board a New Jersey Transit bus, which he rode through Clifton to nearby Paterson. His brother picked him up there, then took him to Clifton police headquarters.

"He was able to have the presence of mind to utilize the technology at his disposal," Rowan said. "He was upset at the time, but he's OK. He has a bruise to his arm and wrist."

Facing charges

Police traced the car to a friend of MacDonald, and additional information then led police to MacDonald, who worked as a bartender at a Clifton social club.

MacDonald has been charged with criminal restraint, attempting to lure a juvenile into a vehicle and simple assault. He is currently being held in Passaic County Jail on $25,000 bail.

A spokeswoman for Sprint, the manufacturer of the phone, says the incident is the first time -- as far as the company knows -- someone has used the year-old technology to foil a criminal.


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