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Council Bluffs Police are urging runners and bicyclists to use caution when exercising in public areas after an attempted abduction Monday morning.

A 15-year-old girl was running near Mall of the Bluffs in the area of Mall Drive and Valley View Drive at about 8:30 a.m. when she was allegedly approached by an unknown white man, who grabbed her by the arm, a press release from the police department stated. The girl, identified on social media as an Abraham Lincoln High School athlete, told police she hit the man and was able to get away.

The suspect was described as a white man between the ages of 45 to 50 wearing a black coat, blue jeans, grey shoes and a green stocking cap. Several officers checked the area and were unable to locate anyone who met that description.

Council Bluffs Superintendent Vickie Murillo expressed concern about the girl and other student athletes who train along public streets.

“We are thankful that the student is safe and that she was able to provide as much detail as she did to help in the investigation,” Murillo said. “We appreciate the partnership (and) the quick response of the Council Bluffs Police Department. We will ensure that our coaches visit with students about safety precautions while running off school grounds.”

The department reminded runners and bicyclists to be aware of their surroundings and, whenever possible, exercise in groups of two or more.

Any suspicious people or activity should be reported to 9-1-1 immediately.

If anyone was in the area of the incident Monday morning between 8 and 8:30 and happened to see a man matching the description of the suspect, they are asked to contact the Council Bluffs Police Department at 712-328-4765.

The incident remains under investigation.

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