Toronto police are asking for the public's help identifying a man who tried to abduct a five-year-old girl at Broadview subway station, in the city's east end, on Thursday night.

The girl and her mother had just gotten off a westbound train at about 6 p.m. and were walking on the platform when a man ran up behind them.

The suspect tried to snatch the girl from her mother's grip, police said. When the man was unable to take the child, he ran off in an unknown direction.

The child was not hurt, but she and her mother were shaken by the incident, police said.

"You always have to be vigilant, it only takes a second," Det. Const. Rory Hopkins said of the frightening incident.

The suspect is described as:

  • Black, with a light complexion;
  • Between 30 and 40 years old;
  • Between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-6;
  • About 140 pounds;
  • Wearing faded black clothing.

Police are reviewing TTC surveillance cameras in hopes of identifying the man.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or go online at

With a report from CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin