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Cleveland abductions spur "stranger danger" convo

10:09 PM, May 9, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Cleveland abductions spur "stranger danger" convo

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Tampa, Florida-- After hearing about the horrifying case in Cleveland, a lot of parents are using it as an opportunity to talk to their children about "stranger danger."

The three women in Cleveland all began their captivity the same way- they accepted a ride home from someone they didn't know, or didn't know well.

See also: Three kidnapped women found alive in Ohio

We talked to Tampa Police Department's Assistant Police Chief, John Newman about protecting yourself against a possible abductor.

As it turns out, it's something that hits very close to him for him.

"About two-and-a-half years ago, my wife was mugged up here in Tampa, in the north end right around the holidays," Newman told us. 

Surveillance video from 2010 shows a man pacing outside a busy Beall's Outlet store- clearly waiting for a victim.

And when Assistant Chief John Newman's wife headed to her car, he tried to grab her.

"She fought the guy off, screamed real loud and made a big scene. Not that she wanted to engage a bad guy, but she wanted to bring attention to what was happening," explained Newman.

Mrs. Newman got away, but the three young women in Cleveland weren't so lucky.

In fact, in a note reportedly found in his home, suspected kidnapper Ariel Castro wrote, "They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting in the car with a total stranger..."

Assistant Chief Newman explained that most children can sense when something is off.

"The kids will say, 'I knew something wasn't right.' Especially those with the maturity, that felt something funny- they really need to react on that kind of feeling," he said. "If it's out of the norm and they don't normally do something or speak to that person- even if they've seen them on the street before..."

"That should be a warning sign to stay away from that person. Or at least stop, have pause and call your parents and find out, 'Hey, am I supposed to be going out with this person?'"

Because once a criminal has your child in his car, he's got the upper hand.

"The percentages go way down if you get to where that person wants to take you. You're either going to survive, or not be a victim, so you have to seize upon that opportunity and fight like hell," Newman stressed.

Hillsborough deputies were on the case right away to find the man who tried to kidnap Assistant Chief Newman's wife. The abductor, Ivran Newcome, is now serving four years at Cross City Prison in Dixie County.

More stories on the Ohio kidnappings:

Follow 10 News Reporter Melanie Michael on twitter @WTSPMelanie

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