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Belfast Police identify person of interest in alleged abduction attempt

BELFAST (WGME) -- Police believe they've identified the man, who they say, may have tried to abduct a boy.

They aren't releasing his name, but they are calling him a "person of interest."

It looked like a carefree summer afternoon at Belfast City Park on Tuesday, but several parents were feeling uneasy after the incident last week.

"Well, it disgusts me," said Amber Ripley, who was playing with her two kids. "Kind of makes me want to stay away from here, but you can't penalize the kids for what other people are doing,"

Norm Poirier, director of parks and recreation, said a man showed up at the pool around 10:30 on Thursday morning, but wasn't allowed in because it was during kid's swim lessons.

"He left the poolhouse, and went down to the playground area which is directly behind the pool," said Poirier.

After the lesson, some kids went down to the playground, and Poirier said that's when a woman saw the boy she was babysitting walking towards the woods with the man.

"And she sort of jumped, ran, sprinted down there and kind of intercepted the conversation and brought the child back to the pool," said Poirier.

The man followed, and she snapped a picture.

"And I believe she took this and sent it off to some of the relatives to see if they knew who the person was," said Poirier.

Hours later, she called to report the incident, and pool staff called police.

The photo was taken using the smartphone app "Snapchat," in which images disappear in a matter of seconds. But in this case, police were able to recover them.

Chief Mike McFadden said a Belfast resident saw the picture on the police department's Facebook page and called to report his identity. Mcfadden said the man lives out of state and may have been in Maine on vacation or business.

"I think it's a wake up call for the community, for parents to maybe sit down with their children," said Poirier.

Police are trying to find the man to interview him, and talking to the district attorney's office about what, if any, charges will be filed.