Suspect charged in attempted kidnapping case
A suspect wanted in connection with an alleged attempted abduction earlier this week has been arrested, according to Toronto police.
The arrest comes days after an eight-year-old girl and her grandmother were followed by a stranger to their apartment building in the Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue area.
The man first approached the young girl and her grandmother at the local Price Chopper supermarket on Tuesday afternoon. According to the family, the man attempted to take the girl's hand and lead her away but the child managed to get away.
The same man then knocked on the door of her family's apartment later that evening, police say. The man was confronted by the girl's cousin and chased him away.
Witnesses told police the man fled the scene in a grey four-door car.
On Wednesday night, police released images of a suspect, taken from the lobby of the girl's apartment building.
A suspect was arrested early Thursday.
Leon Wasser, a 51-year-old Toronto resident, was charged with three counts of criminal harassment and attempting to commit an indictable offence.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Wasser, a former senior administrator at York University was convicted in 2007 of having sex with an underage prostitute. A jury acquitted him of six other charges in the case, including trying to access two young children for a sexual encounter.
The defence in the case argued that Wasser was told by the 15-year-old prostitute that she was 18. Wasser testified that he met the teen after calling an adult chat line. He said he was depressed at the time because he lost his job at York.
A resident who lives on the same North York street as the suspect said he saw a marked police car outside Wasser's house at around midnight.
He was suspicious, he said, because he knew of the man's previous conviction. He checked the news on the Internet this morning and found out Wasser was arrested.
He said he saw the surveillance images that police released on the internet.
"In my opinion, it looks like him," he said.
Wasser, a civil engineer and MBA graduate, is married and has three children. He is described as a "nice man" by those who know him.
"They're all very nice," the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said about the family. "He's always been a nice guy to me."