Peel Regional Police have charged a local man in connection with abducting two children, including a 12-year-old, and holding them against their will over the past month.

Police said that on Monday, a 12-year-old boy told investigators he had been abducted and held in the basement of a home on Tillsdown Drive, near Britannia and Creditview roads.

During their investigation, officers say they discovered a second boy who claimed he was abducted in the same manner. Police say three other boys have been approached by the suspect.

"Our understanding is the victims were chosen at random while walking through the neighbourhood," said Const Fiona Thivierge.

"There was no rhyme or reason as to why these particular boys were chosen except for the fact that they were all around the same age. They were all pre-teens to 14 years of age."

Xiang (Jay) Gao, 19, of Mississauga, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of abducting a person under 14 years of age, uttering threats, two counts of forcible confinement and two counts of assault.

The accused appeared at a bail hearing Wednesday.

Peel police are concerned there may be more victims and are asking the public to contact authorities if they have concerns.

The accused is described as a young Asian male, about 5'5" with short black hair. He may have been wearing a dark puffy jacket and a fur hat with flaps covering ears.

Anyone with information or anyone who feels they may have been approached by the accused is asked to contact police at 905-453-2121 ext. 1133, or Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Police recommend parents take the following steps to protect their children:

  • Try to arrange a walking buddy for your child during trips to and from school
  • Ensure children stays on main routes that are well-travelled
  • Help your child form a plan on how to respond if they feel threatened
  • Know where you children play and who they play with
  • Do not leave your child in an unsupervised location
  • Teach your child where and how to get help and how to call 911.