A 21-year-old man was in jail Wednesday after he allegedly approached one 8-year-old girl and then another in Edina and asked them to get in his vehicle and show him the way to Concord Elementary School, authorities said.
Both girls refused, ran home and alerted their parents. The incidents occurred about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to district spokesman Doug Johnson.
The suspect, who is from Faribault, Minn., remains in custody pending charges.
Edina deputy police chief Jeff Long said the girls were walking home from school, which he declined to identify.
A local teenage boy stopped his car when he spotted one of the girls talking to the man. A second citizen drove up, learned what happened, and followed the vehicle to get a license plate number before calling police.
About 4:45 p.m., police caught the suspect not far away and arrested him on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.
In early January, Edina police increased patrols in park areas after an older man approached two boys near Normandale Park on a Saturday afternoon and asked whether they wanted a ride home in his car. Long said he does not believe the two incidents are connected.
Long said the current suspect told police he was in the area for an appointment and was "just trying to find his way home."
"He said he was sincerely lost and looking for directions," Long said. "The problem we saw with that was that he claimed he talked to a couple people, including a man, but we have not had anyone step forward to say that."
The suspect has since asked to speak to an attorney. The suspect has a criminal history that includes burglary and assault, Long said.
PAUL WALSH, ABBY SIMONS