Police: Homeless man tried to kidnap young girls in Lowell

LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) – A 54-year-old homeless man accused of trying to kidnap two young girls in Lowell has been ordered to undergo a 20-day psychiatric evaluation.

Wayne Spencer was arraigned in Lowell District Court Monday on charges including attempting to commit a crime (kidnapping), trespassing, assault, assault and battery, and breaking and entering a building during the daytime to commit a felony.

Wayne Spencer, 54, appears in Lowell District Court

Officers responding to a report of an attempted abduction at 59 Court St. about 4:20 p.m. Sunday spoke with Maureen Santos, who said she had just confronted a man who entered her home and tried to abduct her 11-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and her daughter’s 9-year-old friend, Lowell police said.

Maureen Santos said the two girls were playing outside when her daughter noticed Spencer staring at her. After screaming for help, the 11-year-old ran inside her house, protecting her friend as she continued to yell for help and called 911.

“He ran toward me and I shoved my friend into the house,” Elizabeth told 7News. “He was coming up here and we were halfway in the house and he tried to grab my hair.”

Santos said when she heard the commotion, she came out and found the man inside her house.

The man allegedly looked at her, said “girls,” and physically touched her — that’s when Santos said she pushed him out of the house.

“I grabbed a hold of him. I just, you know, have a lot in strength in you and a lot of adrenaline in you,” she said. “I forced him out of my home.”

A neighbor, the father of the 9-year-old girl, ran outside after hearing the screams and pinned Spencer down with the help of a neighbor until police arrived.

“We just wanted to make sure the kids were safe,” said Brian Hackett, who helped hold Spencer. “That’s all we cared about.”

Andrea Buonaugurio, a court-appointed doctor who spoke with Spencer prior to his arraignment, said he is not competent.

“Mr. Spencer’s comments about yesterday’s events are irrational,” she said. “He doesn’t appear to have a firm grasp of the nature of his charges.”

Spencer will return to court for a dangerousness hearing upon completion of the psychiatric evaluation.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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