Man, 20, ‘kidnapped four-year-old girl from her bed and bound her with duct tape in a trunk at his grandparents’ house after searching neighborhood for homes of young children with no security cameras nearby’
- Thomas Anthony Dewald, 20, was arrested on Monday in southern Pennsylvania
- Police say he abducted four-year-old girl from her bed early Thursday morning
- Girl escaped captivity and was found wandering the streets hours later
- Dewald’s grandmother told police that she heard crying coming from his room
- Cops found trunk with duct tape and blond hairs similar to the girl’s
- Dewald allegedly admitted he had been prowling the neighborhood for kids
Thomas Dewald, 20, was arrested on Monday in southern Pennsylvania
Police say a 20-year-old Pennsylvania man entered a home’s unlocked front door, snatched a four-year-old girl from her bed and bound and locked her in a wooden trunk at his grandparents’ house.
Thomas Anthony Dewald, 20, was arrested and charged with kidnapping on Monday in Waynesboro, about 165 miles west of Philadelphia, near the Maryland line.
As he was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State troopers, Dewald made an obscene gesture toward news cameras.
The young girl was reported missing at about 3.30am on Thursday, and was found safe several hours later.
Police believe that Dewald crept into her bedroom and took the girl, bringing her back to his grandmother’s house where he indecently assaulted her.
Thomas Dewald is escorted by Pennsylvania State troopers Monday night after being charged with abducting a four-year-old girl from her bad and locking her in a trunk
As he was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State troopers, Dewald made an obscene gesture toward news cameras
Dewald allegedly admitted to investigators that he bound the girl with duct tape and placed her in a wooden trunk in his bedroom when he had to leave for work on Thursday, telling her he would return around noon.
That morning, his grandmother went to check that Dewald’s bed was made and heard crying coming from the bedroom.
The grandmother tried to located the source of the crying, which was coming from near the air conditioner, but was unable to determine where it was coming from, she told police.
The woman said that she went to confront Dewald, but that he had already left for work.
By means that have not been made public, the girl was able to free herself and was found wandering in the street at about 10am on Thursday, within a mile of her home.
An area canvas led police to the home of Dewald’s grandmother. The woman showed police where she had heard the crying, and cops observed a wooden trunk directly under the air conditioning unit.
Dewald had returned to the area a few weeks prior to live with his grandmother
Inside the trunk, they found a strip of tape covered in dirt and grass, and blonde hair that appeared similar to the abducted girl’s.
Police say that Dewald confessed to casing the neighborhood for other children to take, looking in particular for homes that did not have any security cameras nearby.
Dewald allegedly said that he took the girl because he believed she lived in deplorable conditions and wanted to save her.
Cops say he admitted to entering another home on April 28 with intent to abduct the children there.
‘He related he observed all three children sleeping in their beds. Dewald continued to relate he decided not to take any of the children because of the acceptable conditions of the residence,’ the criminal complaint read.
Police say that Dewald heard a dog barking and fled the residence without harming the children.
Dewald is charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, burglary, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, criminal trespass, indecent assault and reckless endangerment.
The investigation continues, and police are actively looking into the possibility that Dewald may have been responsible for similar unsolved crimes.