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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) - It is recognized as one of the best small towns in America, but residents in Bardstown are on edge after a man who attempted to abduct women on two different occasions is still on the loose.
Police say a man in a white van has tried twice to abduct female employees from a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Bardstown.
"She described it like a cargo type construction type van, white male," said Captain Tom Roby with Bardstown Police.
Roby says the woman told police the man appeared to be between 50 and 60 years old with a scruffy "salt and pepper beard" and salt and pepper hair. The woman says the man approached her, tried to get her in the vehicle, kept offering her a ride, but she resisted his offers and continued walking.
Roby says the driver finally sped off when the quick-thinking woman saw a random man in the parking lot nearby and claimed it was her husband. That incident happened on Jan. 11 in the middle of the afternoon in plain sight.
The woman told police she saw another man in the back of the van and noticed the side door was open.
The following day, on Jan. 12, a similar event took place with a different employee, but police say the man was described as much more aggressive.
"As she walked past him, the man then grabbed her from behind, grabbed her arms, told her, 'you're going with me,' and tried to force her in the van," Roby said. "She resisted, struggled against him and screamed out. And as she screamed out, there was a man in the Cracker Barrel parking lot that heard a scream and yelled at the man to let go of her and started approaching them."
Police are hoping to find that good citizen who scared the man in the van off, because he may be able to provide additional information as a witness. The second woman did catch sight of his license plate long enough to remember three letters: J H L.
Based on the description of the white van, police believe the man may be involved in construction work. Roby says the victims described an object "behind the driver's seat that looked like steel mesh, looked like a cage-type of material. It's not uncommon in some types of construction vans."
Roby says both victims stated they saw what "looked like painter's canvas in the back, something that looked like they thought maybe the person could have been a painter."
According to the police, the suspect may have chosen the restaurant because of its location.
"Right there where that location is, close to the Bluegrass Parkway -- 3180 -- if someone actually abducted someone, it's a quick getaway, quick escape routes in several directions from there," said Roby.
If you have any information about these incidents, call police.