4 Michigan Girls Escape Kidnapping Attempt by Dousing Suspect with Hot Coffee

A group of four Michigan girls ages 11 to 14 thwarted an alleged kidnapping attempt Friday night by kicking and hitting the suspect as well as dousing him with hot coffee, PEOPLE confirms.

According to police, the suspect followed the girls out of a convenience store and grabbed two of them.

“Seeing that your little sister was going to get [taken] is very scary,” 13-year-old Lauren Eickhoff said of her reaction after the suspect allegedly tried to take her 11-year-old sister, Allison, she told Flint news station WJRT.

Police quickly arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Bruce Hipkins, of Millington.

He currently is being held in the Tuscola County jail with a $250,000 bond on five charges that include kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and criminal sexual conduct assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, PEOPLE confirms.

The incident occurred about 10 p.m. Friday when the girls, all of them students between 6th and 8th grades, were leaving a Speedway gas station convenience store in Millington, according to a police statement.

The suspect, who followed the group across the street, “grabbed the youngest girl around the head and told her she was coming with him,” police allege. “The other three girls kicked, hit, and threw their hot coffee on him. The suspect let the young girl go and grabbed another one of the girls by her hair. The suspect was again kicked and hit by the girls until he let her go and fled on foot.”

The girls then ran into the Millington Inn and police were called.

“This could have ended a lot differently than it did,” Tuscola County District Attorney Mark Reene told news station WEYI. A call by PEOPLE to Reene was not immediately returned.

“They did exactly what you would have hoped,” he said of the girls, according to the outlet. “They were aware of their surroundings, they paid attention to what was happening, they certainly had an immediate response. They did what they could by utilizing the coffee to try to fend him off.”

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Allison Eickhoff described what happened.

“He said, ‘You’re coming with me.’ And like, he grabbed my face,” she told WJRT. “This cannot be happening; I thought it was a test at first, but then I’m like, ‘This is real.’”

Her sister Lauren said: “I grabbed my drink and chucked it at his head. I tried — I punched him in the head.”

It could not be determined whether Hipkins had entered a plea or obtained an attorney who might speak on his behalf.

The district attorney said the girls deserve “extraordinary credit” for their response and the way they swiftly sought help.

“Thankfully … this was not one girl by herself,” he said.

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